Softball: Royals finish fourth at Class 4A state
Woodbury went toe-to-toe softball with the best the state has to offer on June 8 and 9.
But that was a slim consolation for a very disappointed group of Royals who had loftier goals in mind this season.
Woodbury dropped a 1-0 decision to top-ranked Chanhassen (25-2) in the battle for third place on June 9 in the Class 4A state girls' softball tournament held at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
The loss came on the heels of a 1-0 loss in 13 innings in the championship semifinals to second-ranked Anoka and left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Royals.
It was a tough ending considering how well Woodbury played at state. The team surrendered just two runs in three games, but that was enough for the Royals to finish fourth.
Surprising Farmington won the Class 4A title with a 1-0 win in 10 innings over Anoka.
Woodbury ended the season with a 23-4 record. The Royals' four defeats came at the hands of No. 1 Chanhassen, No. 2 Anoka, No. 6 Park and No. 7 Forest Lake, each by one run.
The Royals, however, had a 21-game winning streak this season, dethroned rival Park to win the Suburban East Conference and repeated as Class 4A, Section 4 champions.
It was also the second straight season the Royals had finished in the top four big school division at state, a feat matched only by Chanhassen.
Chanhassen's Kali O'Keeffe knocked a one-out home run in the first inning for the only run of the game in the battle for third place.
Chanhassen pitchers Marybeth Olson and Taylor Manno then combined for a two-hit shutout.
Woodbury pitcher Ally Hjort allowed just five hits and struck out six.
The Royals had two chances with runners on base to get on the scoreboard but misfired both times. In the fourth, leadoff batter Meagan Bliese walked and moved to third an out later on a double by Kaitlyn Rocco. But Bliese was tagged out attempting to steal home, and Amanda Dickmeyer filed out to end the inning.
In the seventh, Grace Beseman singled to open the inning. Dickmeyer was hit by a pitch, giving Woodbury runners at first and second with one out. But Shannon Motzko and Jade Boisjoli struck out to end the contest.
Woodbury will lose seven seniors off this team, including standouts Mickschl, Hjort, Motzko, Ellie Condon, Bliese, Alix Bookler and Cam Veenbaas.
Returning leaders for next season will likely be shortstop Dickmeyer, third baseman Beseman, outfielders Rocco, Anna O'Connor and Boisjoli.
One more notable loss for the Royals will be the retirement of longtime assistant coach Bob Nickleby.
"I added up, and it was 50 years of riding the school bus," Nickleby said. "It was time to go."