The Lakeville North Panthers knocked off the defending State Champion Farmington Tigers to capture the Section 1AAAA title in Austin last week.  The Panthers (13-9) have been unrated all season and don't seem to care.  When the coaches in the State Class 4A Tournament did their seeds for the tournament it was no surprise Lakeville North was not among the top 5.  Those not in the top five are thrown into a drawing for the remaining seeds and the Panthers will tangle with #3 ranked and top seed Park High School in Cottage Grove (23-1).

#1 rated Prior Lake was upset in Section 2 by Shakopee listed in the state rankings under others receiving votes.  #2 rated Forest Lake received the #2 seed in the State Tournament and opens with Stillwater Area (13-13) while Shakopee (17-8) received the #4 seed and will go up against #5 seed Centennial (20-4) also in others receiving votes of Class 4A.

#3 seed and #4 rated Buffalo (17-2) opens with Edina (10-13).  All quarterfinal round Class 4A games are at 9:00 a.m. Thursday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.

The Lakeville North Panthers will play on Field 1 and have performed well since the crummy weather of April became a distant memory.  Winning 7 of their last 9 games. The Panthers team batting average is .324 and they have clobbered 21 home runs.  Sophomore Jenna Beckstrom leads the team with a .417 batting average and has 8 of the team homers.  Beckstrom also has the most hits (30).

Sophomore Kaitlyn Young has the most RBI (21) while hitting .383 with 3 home runs and is 12-6 in the pitching circle with 126 strikeouts in 116 innings pitched.  Freshman Alexis Haglund has 20 hits in 19 games played and has 3 home runs and 16 RBI while batting .322.  Freshman McKinley Malecha is also hitting .383 with 20 RBI and 3 homers.

The Park Wolfpack have a team batting average of .385 and opponents have hit .142 off their pitching.  The Wolfpack have 12 errors in their 24 games and 29 stolen bases.

The three time defending Section 3AAAA Champions are led by Augustana recruit Delaney Young with a blistering .569 batting average.  Young has 37 hits and 34 RBI with 6 home runs in 24 games.  She was first team All-State as a freshman first baseman, junior third baseman and will more than likely be All-State at shortstop this season according to her coach.

Park has two very good pitchers.  Sophomore Samantha Fohrman is 12-0 with 82 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched and a 1.25 ERA and junior Hannah Schluetter is 11-1 and has 70 strikeouts in 70 innings with a 1.56 ERA.

The only loss by Park was to Forest Lake 3-2 on May 2 so they are riding a 14 game winning streak.

Caswell Park North Mankato Field 1- photo by Gordy Kosfeld