by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Facing a do-or-die game, the Maple Grove Crimson rose to the challenge and blasted Spring Lake Park 13-1 in the Section 5 championship game May 29 in Shoreview.
The Crimson entered the day needing just one win over Spring Lake Park to capture the section title, but the Panthers won the first game 2-0 to force game two.
“In game one we left nine base runners on,” Crimson coach Jim Koltes said. “Spring Lake Park played great defensively and their No. 3 hitter hit a home run in the first inning to give them a 2-0 lead and we never could get back into it. “
The Crimson had many base runners but hit numerous balls right at the Panther defense. Starting pitching Sydney Smith only allowed two hits and suffered her first loss of the season.
Game two was a totally different story as the Crimson’s bats came alive and they won convincingly.
Sarah Michal’s two-out triple scored two in the first and Sammi Sadler delivered a double in the second inning to score two more to put MG up 4-0. Spring Lake Park got one back to make it 4-1 but Taylor Meyer hit her first ever home run to make it 5-1.
Sydney Smith took care of the rest on the mound and hitters Maddie Gordon, Sarah Southorn and Sammi Sadler paced MG to 13 runs.
The Crimson are making their third straight state tournament. They took fourth place last year and second place two years ago. This is the fifth state appearance for Maple Grove.
Maple Grove opens state tournament play with new Prague Thursday, June 5 in Mankato in an 11 a.m. game. The winner advances to the semifinal in a 5 p.m. game. The state championship game is 1:30 Friday, June 6.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]