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Prep softball: KMS’ Haglund may attempt Gopher walk-on

Erin Haglund is certain she won’t be leaving Minnesota for college this fall, but she’s still not sure if more softball is in her future.

Well, maybe she’s got a fairly good idea.

Haglund, the KMS softball star, was going to enroll at UCLA and pursue a nursing degree. She had no plans to continue playing once at the California university.

But Haglund said she recently changed her mind and will enroll at the University of Minnesota. There’s no softball scholarship waiting but she’s thinking about walking on and trying out.

“I’m not sure (about playing in college), but it still hasn’t hit me that after the state tournament my softball career will be done,” said Haglund, who leads the Saints against Red Lake Falls in the Class A quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Thursday in North Mankato.

Haglund certainly has college ball credentials.

She is 13-0 in the pitchers circle this season for the 22-0 Saints. She has a 1.25 earned-run average and 133 strike outs in 73 innings. Haglund also leads the Saints hitting .539 and she’s second on the team with 36 runs batted in.

In the last two seasons, Haglund has a 28-1 record with a 1.19 ERA and 264 strike outs in170 innings. She has a .457 average, 66 RBIs and 69 runs scored.

“I’d definitely love to keep playing softball,” Haglund said. “I’m not ready to be done yet.”

KMS Fighting Saints to face Red Lake Falls

probably can expect a tougher battle against Red Lake Falls (16-7) than it had in last year’s state tournament.

The Saints and Eagles play a quarterfinals game at 1 p.m. Thursday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.

After losing to Cherry in the quarterfinals, the Saints bludgeoned Sebeka 15-7 and then downed Red Lake Falls 7-1 for the consolation championship.

This year, Red Lake Falls has scored 217 runs and held opponents to 137. The Eagles are led by senior Brianna Breilands with a .440 average and 40 hits. Six different players have driven in 16 or more runs, led by junior Molly Amberson with 33. Junior Kadie Amiot is the Eagles’ top pitcher, with a 12-4 record, a 2.96 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 101 innings pitched.

Many of the Saints’ current players will cap a tremendous three-year run in this year’s state tournament. KMS enters with a 70-2 record in three seasons, with both losses coming by 3-2 scores against the eventual Class A state champion.

Tough competition

The KMS softball team is familiar with the Class A field, with seven of the eight teams returning from last year’s bracket.

It’s an impressive collection. Cherry, last year’s champion after a runner-up finish in 2011, is 21-2 this year and plays New Life Academy (16-3) in the first round. New Life won four state titles (2008-2011) after a second-place finish in 2007. New Life was fourth last year.

On KMS’ side of the bracket sits New Ulm Cathedral (19-5), which has won six state championships, and Blooming Prairie (20-3), the 2012 runner-up. In 2010-11, KMS beat Blooming Prairie 11-5 in the third-place game.

Two relative newcomers play in the quarterfinals: Eden Valley-Watkins (14-4) is making its second appearance in the state tournament and plays New York Mills – the bracket’s one new team – is 24-2 and making its first trip to state.

Six area players earn All-State honors

Four Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg softball players and players from Paynesville and Morris/Chokio-Alberta have earned 2013 All-State honors from the Minnesota Fastpitch Softball Coaches’ Association.

KMS Senior Erin Haglund was named to the MFSC’s Class A first team. Saints seniors Sam Dunn and Courtney Olson earned second-team honors, and sophomore Alison Krieger was an all-state honorable mention.

In Class AA, Paynesville senior pitcher Megan Schaefer was named to the all-state second team and Morris/CA senior pitcher McKenzie Van Batavia earned honorable mention.

All-Star Series set for June 9

Four area players and one coach will be among the 72 state players and 12 coaches selected to compete in the 25th annual All-Star Series games June 9 in North Mankato.

KMS’ Haglund will play for the Blizzard team and her teammates Dunn and Olson will play for the Breeze team.

Paynesville’s Brooke Wuertz is on the Ice team’s roster. Morris/CA head coach Mary Holmberg is co-coach of the Thunder team.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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