Gator Softball advances to state title game

Mariah Christian releases a pitch during the Gators’ 4-2 quarterfinal victory over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown. Christian pitched complete games in both of the Gators state tournament victories. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Senior Gator center fielder Makenna Burslie makes the catch during the bottom of the fourth inning of the Gators’ 4-2 state quarterfinal victory over Waterville-Elyisan-Morristown. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Ella Heggedal (right) claps the hand of teammate Ella Korbernick after scoring a run in the top of the fifth inning of the Gators’ state quarterfinal victory over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Gator shortstop Kinsley Hanson throws to first for the third out of the bottom of the fifth inning, getting the Gators out of jam in the team’s 4-2 state quarterfinal victory. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

The Gators celebrate after clinching a 4-2 state quarterfinal victory over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

Lauren Kvien rounds the bases after breaking a 1-1 tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning of the Gators’ 8-4 semifinal victory over the two-time defending state champion New York Mills. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

The Gator players celebrate with teammate Lauren Kvien after she crosses home base following a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning during the Gators’ state semifinal victory over New York Mills. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

The fifth-seeded and Section 8A Champion Badger/Greenbush-Middle River Gators Softball team captured two victories at the Class A State Softball Tournament from Caswell Park in North Mankato on June 6. With these two victories, the Gators advance to the Class A state championship game at 2:30 pm at Caswell Park on June 7 against the third-seeded and Section 3A Champion Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian Flying Dutchmen.

In the team’s quarterfinal match-up, the Gators rallied from a 2-0 first-inning deficit to defeat the fourth-seeded Section 1A Champion Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers 4-2. Trailing 2-1, the Gators took the lead for good in the top of the fifth with two runs, coming on an Mariah Christian RBI double and an Erika Howell RBI single. The Gators aded an unearned run in the sixth to win by the final margin.

In the team’s semifinal match-up, the Gators captured an 8-4 victory over the top-seeded and two-time defending Class A Champion and Section 6A Champion New York Mills Eagles. Lauren Kvien broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to center, giving the Gators the lead for good.

The Gators broke the game open with three runs in the fifth on a Jacey Wojchowski two-run double and a Lauren Kvien RBI double, handing the Gators a 5-1 lead. The Eagles rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 5-4, but the Gators responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take an 8-4 lead. In this three-run Gator inning, Christian hit an RBI single and Wojchowski hit a two-run single. The Gators escaped a first and third situation in the seventh to secure the state title game berth.

Christian earned both pitching wins for the Gators, surrendering six runs over 14 innings.

Read The Tribune in print or online for complete Gator Softball State Tournament coverage.

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