Barnum softball cinches Section 5A title with 3-0 win against Osakis
48-0. That's the cumulative score through the Section 5A playoffs for Barnum's softball team, which heads to state this weekend in Mankato for the seventh time. Playoff wins of 12-0, 20-0, 7-0, and twin wins of 6-0 and 3-0 against Osakis in the s...
That's the cumulative score through the Section 5A playoffs for Barnum's softball team, which heads to state this weekend in Mankato for the seventh time.
Playoff wins of 12-0, 20-0, 7-0, and twin wins of 6-0 and 3-0 against Osakis in the section finals have the Bombers (23-2) playing for all the marbles this week.
Their reward in the quarterfinals? Six-time state champion New Ulm Cathedral (22-3).
The Greyhounds have been to state 11 times in their history and Barnum coach Randy Myhre knows what his team faces.
"They've won about 100 titles," Myhre smiled, displaying a bit of hyperbole even as he showed respect for his team's opposition. "We played them in the early '90s and even played them for the 1994 state championship. They've won a million games, it seems."
That's a lot. But the Bombers are playing about as well as they can.
"We have respect for them," Myhre said. "We respect everyone, but we don't fear anyone either. The kids have the attitude of 'bring them on,' but we have a deep respect for everyone we play."
The Bombers won their section games thanks to great pitching and stifling defense.
"If you look at the scores, you see a lot of zeroes," Myhre said. "Katrina Newman and Karianna Duesler have done a great job pitching and catching and that's where it all starts.
"If you are going to win titles you have to play defense, I don't care what sport it is," Myhre added. "Offense gets the headlines, but defense and great pitching win you championships."
The pitching will likely rest in the capable hands of Newman at state.
"She has sparked us all year," Myhre said. "These kids have a desire and a will to win and it starts with her."
Myhre, who guided Barnum to a state basketball championship in March, has a desire to win equal to that of his players.
"We're very excited to be going to state, representing Section 5A, the Barnum School District and our community," he said. "And let's not forget public schools (New Ulm Cathedral is a private school)."
Of course, at the state level, concentration is key.
"You have to be focused and the teams that make the fewest mistakes are going to win at state," Myhre said. "It's something you always have to think about and work on. We talk about it in our practices and preparation."
The Bombers are certainly focused.
"There is more to do," Myhre said. "They won the Polar League, they won the section, but it's just like those commercials where they try to tell you something and say 'But wait, there's more.' They want to do it (win the state tournament)."
Should the Bombers advance to the title game they may meet Section 7A champ Cherry-Cotton, one of the two teams to defeat them this season. That school is making its first appearance - in any girls' team sport - in Mankato this weekend.
"We've got a lot of respect for Cherry-Cotton," Myhre said. "We talked about that when we played them this year that we might get another crack. What a great thing for northern Minnesota softball and a great opportunity for us if we play them."
Myhre is also not above using a little north/south motivation.
"I think the teams from the south really believe that the teams from the north can't play great softball," he said. "I'm sure they realize our teams are good but we want to prove it. So it would be a great thing for our part of the state to play for a title."