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Prep softball: Prior Lake ends Cards’ year

EDEN PRAIRIE — Prior Lake pitcher Caitlin Stone stymied Willmar, allowing just a sixth-inning run, and the Lakers eliminated the Cardinals with a 4-1 victory in the first round of the Section 2AAA playoffs on Thursday.

The Cardinals, who finished 7-9, pressured the Lakers throughout the game, putting runners on base in five of the seven innings, said Cards head coach Shannon Cayler.

“We lost but I feel really good about how we played,” Cayler said. “I’m proud of their effort today. They put their best game out there.”

Stone worked all seven innings, allowing three hits and striking out six. Teammate Shannan Borchardt had a solo home run among her two hits.

Willmar’s Sarah Stadem had two hits and drove in Megan Rudnick, who singled, for the Cardinals’ run.

Pitcher Leah Ruter went six innings. She didn’t issue a walk and she struck out five.

“You never want to lose,” Cayler said, “but I’d rather lose playing well and we did that today.”

The Cardinals have a good core of players back but will lose seniors Stadem, Rudnick, McKenzie Hastad and Jordan Martins.

“They’re the heart of our lineup and three-fourths of our infield,” Cayler said. “We’ll miss them.”

Prior Lake 4, Willmar 1

Willmar                000 001 0 — 1 3 2 

Prior Lake          010 201 x — 4 8 1 

HITTING – Willmar: Megan Rudnick 1-3 r, Sarah Stadem 2-3 rbi … Prior Lake: Shannan Borchardt 2-3 hr rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Willmar: Leah Ruter (L) 6-8-4-4-0-5 … Prior Lake: Caitlin Stone (W) 7-3-1-1-4-6