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Softball: Stillwater knocks Royals out of section

Woodbury's Anna O'Connor gets caught in a rundown between first and second in the first inning, but she managed to get to second base safely. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Woodbury's Grace Beseman crashes into second base an unsuccessful effort to break up a double play in the first inning. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Woodbury starting pitcher Nicole Stickels lets one fly in the first inning against Stillwater Tuesday. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Woodbury senior catcher Kaitlyn Rocco calls for the ball as a Stillwater runner scores in the third inning Tuesday in section softball at McKnight Field. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

NORTH ST. PAUL—The last time around, it was the Woodbury Royals who laid the lumber to Stillwater, winning 13-3 on May 15.

This time the roles were reversed.

Stillwater started on fire at the plate and never let up in a 15-8 Section 4AAAA victory Tuesday afternoon at McKnight Field. It was the fourth straight section victory for the Ponies, who knocked off Tartan, Mounds View, Cretin-Derham Hall before meeting Woodbury.

The six-inning loss ended the season for the Royals, who finished 9-13 overall. The Royals opened section play with high-scoring wins over White Bear Lake (12-11) and Mounds View (13-3) but couldn't keep up that offensive pace against North or Stillwater.

Stillwater, now 12-12, faces eighth-ranked North (15-2) for the section title Thursday. The Ponies must beat the Polars twice to advance to the state tournament.

Stillwater got off to a hot start against Woodbury starter Nicole Stickels. Stillwater leadoff batter Torri Chute sent the second pitch of the game over the fence. Three batters later, Stillwater slugger Tatiana Tabucol followed with a grand-slam home run. That put the Royals in a very quick 5-0 hole.

Woodbury scored two runs in the second, but Stillwater built the lead back to 11-2 in the fourth inning before Woodbury's bats finally started working in the fifth.

The Royals closed the gap considerably with a five-run fifth inning to make it a 12-8 game, but Woodbury could never make up for the early deficit. Stillwater then closed the doors with three runs in the sixth.

Stillwater outhit the Royals 17-8 in the game.

Junior outfielder Jade Boisjoli led Woodbury hitting with a double and a single and three RBIs in three at-bats. Anna O'Connor was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Amanda Dickmeyer and Hailey Neubauer had one hit and one RBI each.

The Royals lose six key seniors off this year's team, including star catcher Kaitlyn Rocco, outfielders O'Connor and Tessa Sand, second baseman Krista Lee and Emily Cunningham and shortstop stand out Dickmeyer.

“The girls had a fantastic season,” said Woodbury head coach Michelle Welch. “They should be proud of what they accomplished.”