Polars take wind out of Tornadoes



The North Polars got off to a good start in their defense of the Section 4AAA softball title, when Kallie Samuelson led them to a 2-0 victory over Anoka.

The game, coming in second round action at McKnight Field May 24, moved North into a contest against rival Hill-Murray May 26 for the right to remain in the "winners bracket" of section play.

Anoka coach Heather Hanson acknowledged that you don’t win games when you don’t score runs. "But it was a great fastpitch softball game," she stated. "We came up against a team that is a competent competitor. They played well and made the plays against us when they had to. But when you get to this level and this caliber of play, this is what the you want kids to experience. I’m proud of our kids for making it to this level of competition."

From the North point of view, coach Sean Hall offered, "We’re where we want to be. We’ll just take it one game at a time. We had a few chances and didn’t get anyone home, but Kallie (Samuelson) threw well for us and we got the runs she needed."

Of her 10 strikeout performance, Samuelson just shrugged her shoulders. "I really wasn’t placing my pitches that well today. My fast ball was going well and that set up the change. Our team was relaxed, but pumped going into the game. It was a nice game for us."

In all, Samuelson gave up just one hit. In the second inning Jessica Zeller smacked a hard shot to the left side. North third sacker Nicole Larson dove for the ball and stopped it. But Larson had trouble getting the ball from her glove and Zeller beat the peg at first.

Then, in the bottom of the sixth, a bid for a second Anoka hit was robbed by North right fielder Kyley Crotty.

A slashing liner off the bat of Shelly Wilson was sinking as Crotty charged the ball. A diving catch of the shot was made as Crotty hit the ground and held on to the ball.

"That was awesome," said Samuelson when reminded of the catch by Crotty. "She goes as hard as she can every game. It was a great catch."

The Polars gained the upper hand in the top of the first inning. Cassie O’Shea bunted and was safe at first. She moved to second on an infield out and came home on a single up the middle by Courtney Schanks.

In the third, Caitlin Hogan led off and slammed a shot to the right centerfield fence. O’Shea followed with her second hit of the game, a single to left that plated Hogan for the 2-0 North lead.

In all, O’Shea had three hits and a walk. She scored the game-winner and added a RBI to her total.

In the fourth and again in the fifth, the Polars had runners at second and third, but couldn’t come up with the timely hit that would move the tally on the score board.

In other championship play, Mounds View — behind a perfect game by junior twirler Kristin Danielson — topped Coon Rapids 4-0; Hill-Murray got a one-hit pitching effort by Jessie Gorman; and No. 1-ranked Centennial stopped Stillwater 5-3.

The Section 4AAA championship game will be held June 1 at McKnight Field.

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