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Softball: Young's homer lifts Park past Woodbury

Woodbury's Amanda Dickmeyer makes the force out at second in as Park's Heather Degler slides into second base. Photo by John Molene1 / 6
Woodbury catcher Shannon Motzko blocks the plate and tags out Park's Riley Perryman in the sixth inning. Photo by John Molene2 / 6
Park senior pitcher Hanna Mortensen throws a strike in the third inning. Mortenson allowed just two hits in almost six innings of work against the Royals. Photo by John Molene3 / 6
Woodbury's Ashley Mickschl gets a high five from third base coach Bob Nickeby as she rounds third and heads for home after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning. Photo by John Molene4 / 6
Park's Delaney Young grins as she greets teammates after socking a three-run home run in the fifth inning to lift the Wolfpack to a 3-2 win over host Woodbury Friday. Photo by John Molene5 / 6
Park's all-state shortstop Alayna Silvis records the next-to-last out of the game with a stop and throw to first. Photo by John Molene6 / 6

After a game against East Ridge a few weeks ago, Park’s Delaney Young noted the play at third was faster than her previous position, first base.

But in the batter’s box for Young, the action is nice and slow.

Young ripped a three-run home run in the fifth inning to lead the fifth-ranked Wolfpack to a come-from-behind win over eighth-ranked Woodbury Friday at Ojibway Park.

“When you know it's right, I feel like everything just slows down,” Young said. “When you’re hitting, if it’s just like the perfect pitch it’s like everything slows down and it’s nice and easy. Well not easy but nice and there.

“It felt really good to be able to give my team a little boost,” she added.

It was the third straight win by the Wolfpack in the series, all by one run.

Park improved its record to 4-1 in the Suburban East Conference and 6-1 on the season.

Woodbury dropped to 2-2, both in the conference and overall.

Park senior Hanna Mortenson earned the win. She allowed just two hits in 5 and two-thirds innings, striking out two and walking four.

“I think we just fought,” Mortenson said. “We came in a little bit quiet, but then we definitely jumped right back out second inning. We kept fighting, trying to get hits and stuff. We kept the errors away, and we just didn’t give up.”

Sophomore Bryanna Olson came in with two out in the sixth and pitched flawlessly, allowing no hits while striking out one. Olson struck out Woodbury’s Jade Boisjoli to end the sixth then retired the side in order in the seventh.

Senior pitcher Ashley Mickschl had one of just two hits for the Royals, but it was a big one as a two-out solo home run in the sixth that trimmed Park’s lead to one run.

Woodbury pushed across one run in the first inning on a leadoff walk to Amanda Dickmeyer and a RBI single by Meagan Bliese. That lead stood up until Young’s shot in the fifth.

“I was happy after the first inning,” Park head coach Bob Loshek said. “We came out I thought we were ready. The girls said we were ready and anytime you play Woodbury you’d better be ready. Great team, state tournament the last couple of years, great pitching, great hitters. It looked like we flat the first inning. We walked the leadoff batter. They find a way to score the leadoff batter.

“Hopefully that was our wake-up call for the year,” Loshek added. “Now hopefully Park has emerged back to where we’ve been the last number of years of being competitors. It looked like we really competed the last six innings. The last six innings we really got after them, and that’s what I’m proud of.”

Young went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in and a stolen base to lead the Park offense.  Alayna Silvis, Riley Perryman and Saren Croker had two singles each.

Sophomore outfielder Madi Meduna and junior shortstop Silvis got the Wolfpack started in the fifth with back-to-back singles.  That set the stage for Young’s blast over the center field fence.

“We pitched pretty well, other than one mistake that she (Young) took advantage of,” Woodbury assistant coach Bob Nickleby said. “Defensively we were solid. We weren’t very aggressive at the plate for some reason, and we have been, so that’s a negative I guess. But another good game with another good team.”

Woodbury plays at second-ranked Forest Lake (4-1) Saturday. Park hosts Mounds View (0-5) Monday.

SEC Heavy

When the first state softball rankings came out this week, it had a distinct Suburban East Conference flavor. No less than four of the top 10 ranked teams are SEC squads.

Leading the SEC teams in rankings is No. 2 Forest Lake (5-1), followed by No. 5 Park (6-1), No. 7 Stillwater (6-0) and No. 8 Woodbury (2-2). Defending Class 4A state champion Chanhassen (6-0) is ranked No. 1.

Woodbury, Park and Forest Lake all qualified for the state tournament last season.