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Prep Softball: Saints go marching in ... again

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MARSHALL -- Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg is hoping to change its nickname from the Fighting Saints to the Cherry Pickers for the upcoming Class A state softball tournament.

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KMS remained unbeaten Thursday by thrashing Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian 11-3 in the Section 3A championship to advance to the state tourney for the second straight year and fourth time overall.

The Fighting Saints, ranked No. 3 in the coaches association poll, will face off against top-ranked Cherry in the opening round of the state tournament next Thursday at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Both KMS and Cherry are 23-0.

Cherry was the runner-up to New Life Academy last year at state while KMS finished third after falling to New Life Academy in the semifinals.

"We just have to keep doing the same thing we have done all year," said KMS senior outfielder Lori McCain on the team's chances of beating Cherry. "We will go in strong and we are all good hitters. I'm confident we can win."

McCain will be carrying a lot of confidence into next week's tournament after going 3-for-4 against the Dutchmen Thursday. McCain supplied what proved to be the winning hit when she knocked in Samantha Dunn and Erin Haglund on a single to right field in the bottom half of the fifth. That put KMS up 4-1. McCain later singled down the left-field line in the sixth to bring in Brielle Hauge with the game's final run.

Haglund didn't have much trouble improving to 13-0 on the season as she struck out eight. It was the second time the junior stymied the Dutchmen as she spun a one-hitter with nine strikeouts and no walks in the Fighting Saints' 4-0 win in the winner's bracket semifinals last Saturday.

KMS never trailed Thursday and outhit the Dutchmen 10-5 with five of them coming in a six-run sixth. Lyndsay Jorgenson opened the frame by getting an infield single and Ellen Johnson followed with a ground-rule double. Dunn drew a walk to load the bases and Haglund then drove in Jorgenson with an infield single. With Courtney Olson at the plate, Edgerton/SMC starting pitcher Breana VanDyke uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Johnson to score before walking Olson.

Hauge then opened the floodgates by delivering a triple to right field that knocked in Dunn, Haglund and Olson to put KMS up 10-3.

"Everyone is hitting and playing defense right now and we are clicking at the right time," said KMS coach Eileen Suter. "The kids are on a mission. They think it's their job to win and they really feel they can do that each time.

"Cherry is a lot like us. They have pitching and can hit, and it will be quite the game."

Also driving in runs for KMS was Olson with a fly ball in the third, Kalli Forsell with a double in the fourth and Haylie Helms with a bunt in the fifth.

KMS 11, Edgerton/SMC 3

E/SMC 000 012 0 -- 3 5 2

KMS 001 136 x -- 11 10 0

HITTING - Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian: Jessica Menning 1-for-3, Ciara Everett 1-for-3, Sarah Post 1-for-3, run, Tara DeKam 1-for-3, run, Breana VanDyke 1-for-3, 2 rbi ... KMS: Courtney Olson 1-for-3, bb, 2b, run, rbi; Ellen Johnson 2-for-4, 2b, sb, 2 runs; Lori McCain 3-for-4, run, 3 rbi; Kalli Forsell 1-for-4, 2b, rbi, Sam Dunn 0-for-0, 2 bb's, 2 runs, Lyndsay Jorgenson 1-for-3, run; Erin Haglund 1-for-3, bb, 2 runs, rbi; Brielle Hauge 1-for-3, bb, 3b, run, 3 rbi; Haylie Helms 0-for-1, bb, 2 sac bunts, rbi; Kelsey Rothers 0-for-0, hbp; Laura Wentzel 0-for-1

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian: Breana VanDyke (L) 6-10-11-8-6-2 ... KMS: Erin Haglund (W) 7-5-3-3-1-8

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