Cloquet falls short in state softball semifinalsAfter losing to St. Anthony Village last night in the Class AA high school state softball tournament, Cloquet (15-10) meets Maple River (19-7) for third place at 11 a.m. today (Friday).
By: Rick Weegman/Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
NORTH MANKATO, Minn. — At a venue that is noted for its crazy weather patterns, lightning didn’t strike twice in the same place Thursday for the Cloquet softball team.
After hitting a game-winning three-run home run earlier in the day, senior outfielder Kayla Masessa wasn’t given the chance to duplicate her feat on the same Caswell Park field in the Lumberjacks’ 3-2 loss to St. Anthony Village in a Class AA high school state tournament semifinal.
Trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, Cloquet scored runs on RBI singles by Chandler Beaupre and Jade Benko. That set the stage for Masessa, who belted a two-out homer in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Mound Westonka in the quarterfinals. But Becca Bates walked Masessa on four straight pitches to load the bases.
Bates then struck out Kelly Carlson to preserve the victory and send the Huskies (24-3) to the championship game against New Ulm, a 4-3 winner over Maple River. Cloquet (15-10), in its first state tournament since making its debut in 2002, meets Maple River (19-7) for third place at 11 a.m. today.
“We gave it a battle at the end but came up short,” Cloquet coach Ron Tondryk said. “It’s not that we didn’t have a chance, we had our No. 2 hitter up there but just didn’t get any contact on it.
Bates tossed a three-hitter and struck out 12, but five walks gave Cloquet opportunities.
“She threw the ball hard and we chased some high pitches,” Tondryk said.
Chandler Beaupre countered with a five-hitter and just one walk for Cloquet, which had its six-game winning streak snapped. But the Lumberjacks didn’t go down without a fight in the seventh.
“We talk about that all the time, to never give up and play seven innings,” Tondryk said. “And that’s what they did today.””
Minnesota State Tournament
At North Mankato
St. Anthony Village 3, Cloquet 2
WP: Becca Bates 7IP, 2ER, 3H, 12K, 5BB. LP: Beaupre 7IP, 1ER, 5H, 2K, 1BB. SAV (24-3): Kenzie Hadler HR in 2nd. C (15-10): Gustafson 2B; Beaupre RBI; Jade Benko RBI.