St. Anthony fastpitch vying for state crown

Thanks to heavy morning rains, the St. Anthony Village High School fastpitch softball team was forced to wait four hours to begin the state tournament on Thursday. It turned out that the wait was worth it.

St. Anthony beat Hawley and Cloquet at Caswell Park in North Mankato to reach the Class AA championship game. The Huskies go after their first state championship Friday at 1:30 p.m. against New Ulm.

The original schedule for Thursday had St. Anthony playing Hawley at 1 p.m. but a rain storm pushed the first games of the day, which were to start at 9 a.m., back to noon. That three-hour delay turned into four hours by the time Sarah DeMars delivered the first pitch of the game against the Nuggets at 5 p.m.

Nearly two hours later, Kenzie Hadler delivered a run-scoring single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Huskies a 1-0 victory.

DeMars pitched all 10 innings and gave up three hits and seven walks while striking out six.

The victory moved St. Anthony to the semifinals against Cloquet. Hadler came through in that game, too, when she homered in the second inning.

The Huskies added unearned runs in the fifth and sixth. The second one turned out to be huge when Cloquet scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. Becca Bates notched her 12th strikeout to end the game and preserve St. Anthony's 3-2 victory.

Like St. Anthony, New Ulm advanced to the championship game via a pair of one-run victories in the first two rounds. The Eagles edged Kasson-Mantorville 3-2 in eight innings in the quarterfinals and Maple River 4-3 in the semifinals.

St. Anthony is the state title game for the second time. The Huskies last played for the state championship in 2007 and lost 1-0 to Pipestone in 17 innings.

Class AA state tournament Caswell Park, North Mankato Quarterfinals New Ulm 3, Kasson-Mantoville 2, 8 innings Maple River 2, Albany 1 St. Anthony Village 1, Hawley 0, 10 innings Cloquet 4, Mound Westonka 3

Semifinals New Ulm 4, Maple River 3 St. Anthony Village 3, Cloquet 2

Consolation semifinals Albany 2, Kasson-Mantorville 1 Mound Westonka 5, Hawley 2

Championship game, Friday, 1:30 p.m. New Ulm vs. St. Anthony Village

Third-place game, Friday, 11 a.m. Maple River vs. Cloquet

Consolation championship, Friday, 9 a.m. Albany vs. Mound Westonka

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