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Softball: Royals continue section dominance

Woodbury’s Meagan Bliese slides under a tag during the bottom of the fifth inning against North. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Ashley Mickschl pitches the ball to home plate during the May 26 section semifinals game against North. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The streak continues for the Woodbury softball team.

The Royals have gone undefeated in every section softball game over the past two seasons.

A 6-0 win against North on May 26 at McKnight Field in North St. Paul has put them in the Class 4A, Section 4 championship game for the third consecutive season. One more win and the Royals will make a third trip to the state tournament.

The offense helped the Royals score six runs in the section semifinals game. But strong pitching and defense kept North's offense from getting comfortable.

"We have a really solid defense all the way around," starting pitcher Ashley Mickschl said. "No matter who is out there, everyone can make a play, and everyone can do well. Having a solid defense when I'm pitching is one of the biggest keys."

Mickschl held the Polars to just two hits while she struck out nine batters in the game. She has yet to give up an earned run in nearly 13 innings pitched in tournament play.

"Every game Ashley pitches is good," head coach Michelle Welch said. "Her changeup is unreal."

Shannon Motzko led the Royals with two doubles, including one in the fifth inning that drove home two runs for a 5-0 lead.

Top-seeded Woodbury started the tournament with a 6-2 win over Cretin-Derham Hall at home on May 23. The Royals then defeated Roseville 11-1 in five innings to set up the May 26 showdown with second-seeded North.

The Royals will get a break until the June 1 championship game. North will play Hill-Murray on May 30 to determine the championship contender.

With the Royals playing in another section championship game, they hope to apply the same mentality that has helped them stay ahead of the section field in the first three games.

"I think we try to take it one game at a time, one pitch at a time, one out at a time," Mickschl said. "Because that's kind of how we work, and make sure we're doing the little things right to get through a game."