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Woodbury wins two to advance to section title game

Senior second baseman Jordyn Yourczek scoops up a ground ball and flips it to first to record an out in Woodbury's 13-1 win over Hill-Murray on Wednesday at McKnight Field

Woodbury faced a massive hill to climb after falling to Stillwater in the Section 4AAA opener.

The Royals have climbed that hill.

Third-seeded Woodbury exacted revenge over Stillwater by topping the Ponies 4-3 in eight innings on Wednesday at McKnight Field to advance to Thursday’s 4AAA Sectional final versus North St. Paul.

Sophomore Riley Lonetti played the hero in the eighth when she provided a walk-off double to right center to knock in Madi Yochum for the game-winning run to send the Royals onto Thursday's action.

Woodbury hurlers Caitlin Balsimo and Ashley Mickschl were tremendous in the circle, scattering six hits to hold down the Stillwater offense.

Still, the Royals trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh. And with the season on the line, Mickschl, a freshman, extended the campaign with a game-tying home run, setting the stage for Lonetti in the eighth.

Mickschl and junior pitcher Lauren Garay combined to toss a two-hitter earlier on Wednesday in a 13-1 win over Hill-Murray in five innings to advance to the rematch with Stillwater.

The Royals offense was led by Lonetti, who knocked in three runs on two hits, and senior Jordyn Yourczek, who finished with two hits and two runs batted in.

Woodbury (19-6) has won four-straight games in the lower bracket to claw back into the title round. Still, the Royals must beat top-seeded North St. Paul (20-3) twice on Thursday at McKnight Field to clinch a trip to the state tournament.

The first pitch of game one is set for 4:30 p.m. If Woodbury wins the opener, game two will shortly follow the conclusion of game one.

The Royals started off lower bracket play by running off two straight wins – including a victory over cross-town rival East Ridge.

Woodbury topped East Ridge 4-1 on Thursday, May 22, at McKnight Field, sending the Raptors home for the season. The win followed an 11-1 trouncing of Mounds View as Woodbury battled back in the losers’ bracket.

The No. 3-seeded Royals ended up in the lower bracket after falling in the second round to No. 6-seeded Stillwater 6-1 on May 20 at Woodbury.

Against Stillwater, the Royals were foiled by an uncharacteristic five errors, though they got back on track in the Mounds View game, winning in five innings.

Garay held the Mustangs to three hits, while teammate Alexis Jacobs smashed a home run, her third of the season.

The Royals went back to action later in the day against East Ridge, where freshman pitcher Ashley Mickschl earned her 10th win of the season. Woodbury’s Shannon Motzko and Rylie Lonetti had two hits apiece against the Raptors.