Softball: Little Falls Flyers end Willmar Cardinals' season, 12-2

Little Falls eliminate Willmar in five innings in the Section 8AAA playoffs

Tribune's softball roundup
Tribune graphic / Kit Grode

SAUK RAPIDS — The Willmar softball team’s season came to a close after a loss in the Section 8AAA elimination bracket Thursday to Little Falls.

The third-seeded Flyers beat the fifth-seeded Cardinals 12-2 in five innings at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.

“Little Falls hit the ball well tonight and hit the gaps, so it made it tough to keep them from scoring,” said Willmar head coach Christian Brown. “We needed to keep pace with them offensively and unfortunately, we didn’t hit those same gaps.”

Little Falls fell into the elimination bracket game after losing to Sauk Rapids 3-2 on Thursday.

Willmar grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Elizabeth Haugen scored from second on a Paige Akerson single to center field.


Little Falls responded with a four-run bottom of the second, followed by five more runs in the third to make it 9-1. The Flyers tacked on three more runs in the fourth to help put the 10-run rule into effect.

Leading Little Falls’ offense was Kendra Couture. She went 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs. She hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth.

Korrin Gwost got the win for Little Falls. She held Willmar to two hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

Akerson finished the game 1-for-1 and Lexi Owens was 1-for-3. Zadina Butcher scored a run for the Cardinals after a Flyers error in the fifth.

Willmar concludes the season with a 1-19 record.

“This was a tough one to go out on,” Brown said, “especially for our seniors, who I have coached since they were seventh-graders in summer ball.”

More softball coverage:
Recent prep softball coverage from west central Minnesota.
KMS Fighting Saints eliminated in 3A playoffs, ending Eileen Suter’s 32-year run as the Saints’ head coach
Prep softball report for Saturday, May 27, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Fighting Saints advance by beating Wabasso, 13-12; Edgerton/SWC up next
In this installment of the WCT Sports Show, Tom Elliott, Joe Brown and Michael Lyne discuss Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg softball and its standout head coach as well as Benson/KMS boys tennis making the trek to Minneapolis for the first time in 14 years. Plus, Section 3A-North baseball seeds are out.
The gallery includes photos of the Benson Braves, KMS Fighting Saints and MACCRAY Wolverines softball teams

Section 8AAA

Little Falls 12, Willmar 2

Willmar    010   01-2   2   2
Little Falls     045   3x-12   11   2
Hitting - Willmar: Lexi Owens 1-3, Paige Akerson 1-1 rbi bb, Zadina Butcher 0-2 r … Little Falls: Emily Johnson 1-3 2b r, Leah LeBlanc 0-3 r, Kendra Couture 2-3 2b hr r-3 rbi-3, Maira Smude 1-2 r bb, Hayli Hemingson 1-2 r, Lily Hanson 1-1 2b r, Janna Middendorf 2-2 2b r-2 rbi-4 bb, Victoria Gottwalt 2-2 rbi-3, Brynn Thoma 1-2 2b rbi 
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Grace Etterman (L) 2.1-8-9-8-2-1, Butcher 1.2-3-3-2-0-0 … Little Falls: Korrin Gwost (W) 5-2-2-1-2-4

Joe Brown is a sports reporter for the West Central Tribune.

He can be reached via email at: or his office number: 320-214-4332.
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