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Adapted softball: Thunderbolts earn hardware at state

The South Washington County Thunderbolts softball team finished as consolation champions at the 2013 state tournament.

The South Washington County Thunderbolts adapted softball team may have lost its first game at the 2013 state tournament, but the team made sure it didn't come home empty handed.

The Thunderbolts finished as consolation champions at the state tournament, defeating Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee, 14-4, in the fifth-place game after upsetting Dakota United in the consolation semifinals.

In the consolation championship, the third-seeded Thunderbolts, which finished the year 11-5 overall, recorded a pair of five-run innings to contribute to a six-inning win over the fourth-seeded Southern Stars.

Sophomore Lucas Fiedler and senior Alice Liu each scored three runs in the game and sophomores Lucas Coy and Tristan Rankin each scored two runs in the game. Scoring one run each was sophomore Dylan Kubitscheck, junior Amanda Henderson, senior Jared Dike, and ninth-grader Austin Sager. Henderson earned the win on the mound.

The Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee Southern Stars were led by junior Nick Bartrud, with his two runs. Sophomores Amber Olson and DreShawn Livingston each added one run toward the Stars' total. The Southern Stars' season ends with an 8-8 record.

Prior to beating the Southern Stars, South Washington County upset CI South Division rival, and perennial powerhouse Dakota United 9-3 in the consolation semfinal game.

Due to Saturday morning graduation conflicts for members of the South Washington County team, the teams agreed to play this game at the conclusion of Friday night's first-round games, instead of the scheduled 10:30 a.m. time on Saturday.

In the win over No. 1 seeded Dakota United, underdog South Washington County scored two runs in the fourth inning, and four in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and seal the win. The teams had met twice during the regular season with Dakota United (11-3) winning both times, 11-2 in the first game and 14-12 in their second meeting.

Senior Amber Hagen scored two runs for the Thunderbolts and hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning in the win. Sophomore Tristan Rankin and Kubitscheck also scored two runs each in the game. Scoring the remaining runs were Liu, junior John Stutelberg, and Coy. Dakota United got all three of its runs from three of the first four batters in the first inning, but the Thunderbolts defense and Henderson shut them down the rest of the way.

In the first round, The No. 2-seeded North Suburban Cougars defeated the Thunderbolts, 11-4.

The Cougars began with a three-run first inning, getting runs from eighth-grader Anthony Bengtson, junior Tyler Engel, and sophomore Nick Powers. The 'Bolts held the Cougars (12-2) scoreless in the second inning, but North Suburban added four more runs in the third inning and three runs in the fourth inning to blow the game open.

The Thunderbolts were only down 3-2 after the first inning, but had difficulty keeping up with the Cougars. Scoring in the first inning were Coy and Kubitscheck. Hagen added a run in the second, and Liu scored the team's final run in the third inning.

North Suburban went on to finish second in the state, falling to this year's state champion Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville 12-5 in the state title game. Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville ended the year 14-1.

South Washington County was making its second consecutive and 13th overall appearance at the state tournament - in search of a third championship. The Thunderbolts previously won consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006. They placed fourth last year.

The Thunderbolts now must say good-bye to eight seniors - Nicole Olson, Hagen, Hayley Carriere, Liu, Annalise Linder, Jared Dike, Michael Ruland and Kira Oden.