Area Softball: Patriots prepped for another state tournament

Class 2A state softball Who: Pequot Lakes Patriots (23-2) vs. Pipestone (24-0) What: Class 2A state quarterfinals When: 9 a.m. Thursday Where: Caswell Park, North Mankato Who are the Pipestone Arrows? That's what the Pequot Lakes Patriots hope to...

Bret Sergent
Bret Sergent

Class 2A state softball

Who: Pequot Lakes Patriots (23-2) vs. Pipestone (24-0)

What: Class 2A state quarterfinals

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Caswell Park, North Mankato


Who are the Pipestone Arrows?

That's what the Pequot Lakes Patriots hope to figure out quickly in their Class 2A state quarterfinal matchup 9 a.m. Thursday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.

Class 2A's fourth-ranked Patriots, who are ranked No. 5 in the Quality Results Formula, enter their second state tournament with a 23-2 record after cruising through the Section 6-2A bracket unblemished.

Pipestone made it through the whole season without a loss. The Arrows outscored Section 3-2A opponents 44-2 in four section games. Twelve of the Arrows' wins were by 10 runs or more and they outscored opponents 293-30 on the season.

The Arrows are hitting .427 as a team with 19 home runs.

Abby Hollingsworth leads Pipestone with six home runs and a .571 batting average. She's driven in 32 runs which is second behind Kirsten Houg, who has 34 RBIs with five home runs and a .432 average.

"They were ranked second in the state for most of the year and they're 24-0," said Pequot head coach Bret Sergent. "They've got a sophomore pitcher, who starts, and then a junior pitcher, who also plays in the infield. I don't know a whole lot about them."

Tiffany Evans has three home runs with 22 RBIs and a .500 average. Taylor Nesvold is batting .507 with 18 RBIs and Tarryn Woelber is hitting .370 with 31 RBIs. Shelby Bloemendaal and Rachel Skyberg also are hitting better than .400 with at least 25 RBIs.


The Patriots will combat Pipestone's bats with senior Kathryn Miska. The St. Cloud State University recruit is 23-2 with a 1.32 ERA. She's struck out 288 batters in 154 innings. She's walked 45 batters.

"She's had a real good year," Sergent said. "The game against Albany she was lights out. She's throwing well and feeling pretty well. That always gives us a chance.

"If she's on and keeping people off base, we've got a good shot. We're tough up the middle. Haley (Wiebolt) and Laura (Squires) are there. The two seniors take care of a lot of things up the middle. Jessica (Faacks) had an outstanding game against Pierz at third. Claire Ganley has come a long way in center field this year. She's reading the balls. Her throws are much better.

"We're pretty solid up the middle and Caitlyn Carkhuff has done a heck of a job behind the plate all year. Nothing gets by. Kathryn throws hard so if it's not on she smothers it in the dirt."

Wiebolt leads the Patriots with a .532 average. She's driven in 31 runs and scored 32 times. Wiebolt has eight doubles, two home runs and a triple.

Squires is hitting .462 with 12 doubles, 30 RBIs and 27 runs scored. Miska is hitting .412 with 27 RBIs and six home runs. Alex Kotaska owns three home runs to go with 20 RBIs and 26 runs. She's also hit five doubles for a .377 average.

Barbara Miller, who along with Wiebolt, was on Pequot's 2013 state team, is hitting .341 with 32 runs, 23 RBIs and eight doubles and four triples. She leads the team with 12 stolen bases.

"I've been pretty concerned (with the offense) the last couple of weeks," Sergent said. "We just were not getting many hits. We weren't stringing them together at all. I think a lot of that is, the season is coming to a close, and there is a lot going on in the school year. I hate to say distractions, but hitting is real contagious, too. Once you start to do it, it just goes.


"I was pleased with the way we responded against Pierz. We had 10 hits in that game and I think (Brittney) Boser is a nice pitcher. She does a nice job. We got some clutch hits, some big two-out hits. I was pleased to see our offense come around. But the last couple of weeks we were not putting up the runs or stringing hits together."

Pipestone's Bloemendaal is 16-0 with a 0.375 ERA. She has 121 strikeouts in 93.1 innings. Tiffany Evans is 8-0 with a 1.63 ERA. She's struck out 61 in 47 innings.

Pipestone is No. 4 in the QRF and was the No. 2-ranked team in the final coaches association poll.

"We know what we can do," Sergent said. "We know what our strengths are and we also know what our weaknesses are. Lots of teams have tried to bunt us. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle bunted just about every player. They figured small ball was how you beat us. That's something teams have been trying to do to us all year and we've just gotten better and better. Our defense the last two weeks has been outstanding. Our bunt coverage is good. We're ready for what anybody throws at us."

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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