John Molene / Sports Writer
COTTAGE GROVE—After 10 innings of a fierce back-and-forth battle, Park coach Bob Loshek had had enough, and dialed up the squeeze play. Loshek sent star shortstop Delaney Young barreling in from third base and Riley Perryman made it work at the plate with a perfectly executed bunt as the host Wolfpack edged visiting East Ridge 5-4 in a terrific battle Thursday.
It's back to state for the South Washington County Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolts qualified with a fairly easy 18-5 section win over the visiting Buffalo/Monticello/STMA Coyotes Adapted in a game played at Woodbury High School Wednesday. The adapted softball state tournament will be held at Coon Rapids High School, June 1 and 2. It's the 18th appearance at state in the Cognitive Impaired Division (CI) for the Thunderbolts. Two years ago the Thunderbolts won the consolation championship. But last year's team dropped its first two games and was eliminated.
East Ridge coach Afton Murray has got this softball thing finally figured out. Pitch well, play good defense and let Sidney Zavoral and Josie Dorf hit home runs. For the second game in a row, Zavoral and Dorf let their big bats do the talking—both homering—to drive in all six runs and lead the Raptors to a 6-1 section-opening win over visiting Rosemount Tuesday.
Park junior Justus White was a triple winner and Woodbury's Maya Cochran and Runo Egi each won two events to lead their teams to team titles Thursday in a three-way track and field meet at Park High School. White won the 110-meter hurdles in 20.11, finished first in the 300-meter hurdles in 45.92 and took first in the high jump at 5-8. Cochran threw her weights around for a pair of top finishes, winning both the shot put at 38-04 and the discus at 85-06. Egi jumped 16-00.5 to win the long jump and took the triple jump with a top mark of 34-05.50.
The first question stumped East Ridge sluggers Josie Dorf and Sidney Zavoral only for a moment. "Who had the better home run?" the pair was asked following East Ridge's 5-4 softball win over Woodbury in the final regular season game for both teams Friday at Ojibway Park. "Josie," said Zavoral. "I think they were both equally pretty good home runs," said Dorf. And that settled that. Dorf hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Zavoral added a two-run shot in the fifth to lead the Raptors to the 5-4 victory.
WOODBURY — Woodbury had it all Monday — good pitching, defense and timely hitting — in a drizzly 9-1 baseball win over visiting Park at home. Senior Jack Horman pitched the Royals to the victory, going 4 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and one run. He struck out two and walked none.
COTTAGE GROVE — Seniors Delaney Young and Riley Perryman used the long ball to lead the fourth-ranked Park Wolfpack to an 8-1 home softball win against visiting East Ridge Wednesday. Young ripped a three-run home run in the second inning to give Park a 4-1 lead. Perryman followed with a three-run homer of her own two innings later to put the Wolfpack firmly in command.
EAGAN — Led by their sprinters and relay teams, Park and East Ridge track stars claimed multiple titles in a drizzly Section 2AAA True Team meet Tuesday at Eagan High School. Park seniors Joe Timp and Edmond Nkwain both won individual titles to lead the Wolfpack to third place in the boys' team race. Timp won the 400-meter dash in 51.50 and Nkwain finished first in the 300 hurdles in 41.44. Park's Ebenezer Pierre took top honors in the pole vault, winning with a mark of 13 feet.
WOODBURY — In a meeting of Eagles, Heritage Christian Academy and ace pitcher Seth Halvorsen had just enough, just enough, to hand New Life Academy its first loss of the season Monday. The visiting Heritage Christian Eagles scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to claim a tense 4-3 victory over the host New Life Eagles at the Health East Sports Center. New Life senior Zach Thor ripped a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh to give the Eagles hope, but that was it for New Life as the next batter failed to advance Thor.
WOODBURY — The high-flying Thunderbolts got brought back to earth Monday. Coming into the game with a perfect 6-0 record, the South Washington County Thunderbolts dropped a 14-7 decision to visiting Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee at Woodbury High School. The Thunderbolts had been rolling this spring, going undefeated with an average winning score of 14.6-to-3. The team's closest game was a 12-9 win over the Southern Stars of Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee in the season opener.