The Faribault Falcons fastpitch softball team outhit #4 state rated and Section 1AAA top seeded Winona in Austin Thursday, but fell 2-1 in a nine inning thriller.

The Falcons cranked out 13 hits while the Winhawks were held to 7 by Rylee Sietsema, senior, but in this sport it's the runs that determine the winner.

Sietsema has sizzled in the pitching circle for Faribault and that continued with 128 pitches thrown, 88 strikes, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks and 7 hits allowed while throwing all nine innings.

An unearned run was the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Winona's first run came on a solo home run off the bat of Mackenzi Simmons, senior, in the bottom of the 5th inning.  At that point it was the second hit of the game for the perennial state participants.

Faribault tied the game in the top of the seventh and Sietsema was masterful in getting out of a bases loaded nobody out jam in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Winona pitcher Lauren Kreckow, senior, also went the distance throwing 125 pitches, 88 strikes.  She was calm with a lot of Falcons on the bases throughout the game.

The Winhawks had two runners thrown out attempting to steal a base.

Every Faribault player contributed in the hard fought loss with only one batter not getting a hit.

Amanda Cullen, sophomore, had 2 hits including a double, Jamie Adamek, junior, collected 3 hits, Reagan Drengenberg, senior, clubbed two hits at the top of the order scoring Faribault's only run of the game on an Olivia Smith single in the top of the 7th inning. with two outs.

Amira Williams, freshman, had 2 hits.  The Falcons had 2 errors, Winona 1 miscue in the Big Nine Conference showdown for the Section 1AAA title.

Faribault finished their season with a 13-12 record.  They were the #6 seed in the eight team Section tournament.  Along the way they defeated a very good Northfield team 3-2 in 8 innings before losing in walk-off fashion to state ranked Stewartville 5-4.

Then the Falcons flew through the elimination bracket with a 10-2 win over Byron ending their season with an (11-8) record.  Next came a 9-2 win over Red Wing ending their year (10-14) before a rematch with  #10 rated Stewartville where Faribault dominated 11-2 to send them home with a 17-5 season mark.

Other Section finals from the region:

Section 1A, top seed, #4 ranked Blooming Prairie was forced to play a second game after #6 seed Wabasha-Kellogg won the first game 2-1.  The Awesome Blossoms captured the title with a 4-1 win in the second contest.  They go to state with a (19-4) mark.  The Falcons end their season (14-12)

Section 1AA , top rated, top seed, Randolph saw their undefeated record blemished when #2 seed, #8 ranked Caledonia won the first game 5-1.  The Rockets (24-1) recovered and blanked the Warriors 6-0 to advance to the state tournament next week.  Caledonia ends (24-4)

Section 1AAAA  New Prague got a 1-0 win over top seed and top state rated Farmington. The Trojans are (19-3).  Tigers end their season (21-5).

Section 2A, #2 ranked United South Central won their first game against #3 rated New Ulm Cathedral 3-0.  However the Greyhounds howled to a 4-0 win to punch their ticket back to the state tournament.  The Rebels finished their season (22-3)  New Ulm Cathedral is (21-2) with USC the only Class A to defeat them.

Section 2AA, top seed and #2 state rated Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial edged #2 seed and #4 rated Belle Plaine 4-3.  The Knights are (20-2).  Belle Plaine finishes their season (21-3).

Section 2AAA, #2 seed, #6 rated Mankato East won a 1-0 pitcher's duel with top seed, #2 ranked New Ulm to punch their ticket to stay home for the state tournament.  The Eagles finished their season (19-5)  The Cougars are purring with a (17-6) mark.

Section 2AAAA, #3 seed Eden Prairie rolled by #5 seed Minnetonka 12-2.  The Eagles are (16-6). Skippers finished the season with a (12-13) record.  Top seed in the section was #3 state rated Shakopee (18-6) who lost to Minnetonka the second game of the tournament.

Section 3AAAA, top seed, #2 rated Rosemount was defeated 6-1 by Park of Cottage Grove to force a second game that the Irish won 9-3.  Rosemount will enter the state tournament with a (21-4) record.  The Wolfpack end their year (17-8) and were in the others receiving votes category of the final Minnesota Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Class AAAA state rankings.

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