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Prep Softball: Fighting Saints capture 3rd place

NORTH MANKATO -- The Fighting Saints never come home empty handed from the state softball tournament.

This time they won the third-place trophy as Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg thrashed Blooming Prairie 11-5 Friday at the Class A tournament at Caswell Park.

The Saints capped a 23-1 season by piling up 16 hits, more than enough support for winning pitcher Erin Haglund.

Under coach Eileen Suter, the Saints left North Mankato with consolation trophies in 2004, and again in '07.

The Saints' offense generated all 11 of their runs in the first three innings with seven coming in the third.

Courtney Olson tripled in a pair of runs to get the Saints rolling in the first. Olson was later named to the all-tournament team.

But the Awesome Blossoms, who were 20-1 entering the state tournament, struck for four runs off Haglund in the home half of the first.

KMS answered in the second by picking up two runs to tie the score at 4-4 on an RBI single by Ellen Johnson and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Brooke Carlson.

The explosive third started with Haglund, who had four hits (two of them doubles), singling up the middle. She then scored on an error.

Lori McCain followed with an RBI single, Johnson doubled in two more runs and Carlson knocked in Johnson to make it 8-4.

Haglund singled for the second time in the inning to bring in Carlson and Olson singled to right-center to plate Sam Dunn, who had walked for the seventh run of the inning.

That was plenty for Haglund, who gave up a single run in the fifth. She finished allowing eight hits on two walks and seven strikeouts. Her final record on the season was 12-1, losing only to New Life Academy 3-2 in the semifinals on Thursday.

New Life Academy (24-4) beat Cherry/Cotton 8-2 later in the day Friday for their fourth straight Class A title.

The Fighting Saints will return most of their team next year. The lone seniors are starting center fielder Brooke Carlson and reserve outfielder Emily Wentzel.

The Fighting Saints' record at the state tournament in their three appearances is now 6-3.

Haglund finished the tournament 6-for-11 (.545) at the plate and 1-1 with a save in the pitcher's circle. Olson doubled three times and added two singles in 10 at-bats and drove in four runs.

KMS 11, Blooming Prairie 5

KMS 227 000 0 --11 16 2

Bloom. Prairie 400 010 0 -- 5 8 3

HITTING - KMS: Ellen Johnson 2-for-5, 2b, 3 rbi; Brooke Carlson 1-for-3, 2 rbi; Erin Haglund 4-for-5, 2 2b's, 2 runs, rbi; Sam Dunn 0-for-3, 2 bb's, 2 runs; Courtney Olson 3-for-5, 3b, 3 rbi; Lori McCain 2-for-4, 2 runs, rbi; Lyndsay Jorgenson 2-for-3, 2 runs; Haylie Helms 2-for-3 ... Blooming Prairie: Tricia DeBoer 2-for-4; Tayla Jones 2-for-3, 2 runs, solo HR, rbi; Shelbi Swenson 2-for-2, rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- KMS: Erin Haglund (W) 7-8-5-5-2-7 ... Blooming Prairie: Erica Manske (L) 62/3-15-11-11-5-7, Shelbi Swenson 1/3-1-0-0-0-1