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Adapted softball: Thunderbolts win 18-4, advance to state tournament

The South Washington County Thunderbolts softball team qualified for its first state tournament since 2006 last week.

The 'Bolts -- the second seed in the playoffs -- beat seventh-seeded Wayzata/Minnetonka 18-4 in five innings Wednesday, May 23, to qualify for the 2012 state tournament.

"Wayzata/Minnetonka has a young team and don't have a lot of players, but they play hard and have great coaches," Thunderbolts head coach Denny Larson said. "We had a great time with them."

The Thunderbolts (8-1) had their bats going in the victory - and got solid defense and stellar pitching from sophomore Amanda Henderson.

"We've really done well this year," Larson said. "We came up from the bottom of the pack last year. We made some great plays and got some big hits. The coaches were really excited and the parents there were very happy and thankful. It was amazing for these kids. That's what it was it's all about."

South Washington County scored four runs in the first inning, then scored the maximum five runs in both the second and third innings before scoring four runs in the fourth inning and taking the foot off the gas to coast to the win. The offensive explosion was more than enough for Henderson, who improved to 8-1 on the year.

"Amanda has pitched the whole year and has just been amazing," Larson said. "She's really done a great job."

At the plate, senior Caleb Gotz led the way, going 3-for-3 with three runs, one RBI and his first homerun of the season. But, Gotz wasn't the only one to hit well in the win. Junior Alice Liu was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, junior Jared Dike was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, Henderson helped herself out, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, freshman Lucas Coy was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, freshman Tristan Rankin was 2-for-4 with a run, sophomore Thomas Jarosiewicz was 1-for-2 with a triple, three RBI, three runs scored, freshman Dylan Kubitschek was 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and a run scored, freshman Lucas Fiedler was 2-for-2 with a double, a run and an RBI, senior Hannah Behnken was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI and sophomore John Stutelberg was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, two runs scored and one RBI.

The Thunderbolts now take on Mounds View (7-2) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Coon Rapids High School in the first round of the state tournament. The 'Bolts beat Mounds View at state back in 2006. A win would advance the 'Bolts to the next round and a game at noon on Saturday. A loss would put the team in the consolation round on Saturday at 9 a.m.

"It's going to be really exciting," Larson said. "I'm not sure what's going to happen. It's all about who makes fewer errors. I keep telling the kids that defense is the name of the game."