Braves get offensive, qualify for state

A roller-coaster season ended in a thrilling fashion as the Menahga fastpitch softball team won the Section 6A title and qualified for the state Class A tournament Thursday at Menahga.

A roller-coaster season ended in a thrilling fashion as the Menahga fastpitch softball team won the Section 6A title and qualified for the state Class A tournament Thursday at Menahga.

The Braves, who ended the regular season with an 11-9 record, advanced to the section tournament as the North runner-up following a 9-4 loss to New York Mills in the subsection title game on May 24.

Menahga's offense provided the spark in the section tournament as 11 hits led to a 10-5 win over South champion Parkers Prairie in the semifinals before a 16-hit attack ignited a 12-2 win over New York Mills in the section championship game.

"We played well," said Menahga head coach Brian Carlson. "It was quite a performance. It all came together at the right time."

The Braves will open play in the state Class A tournament Thurs-day morning at 9 by playing five-time state champion New Ulm Cathedral at Mankato. The second round will also be played Thurs-day with the finals set for Friday.


Menahga will carry a 15-10 record into Thursday's first-round game against New Ulm Cathedral, the state's No. 1-ranked team with a 25-1 record. The other state qualifiers are Sleepy Eye St. Mary's (22-5), No. 2 Wabasha-Kellogg (22-6), Sacred Heart (17-3), No. 4 New Life Academy (21-3), No. 9 Silver Bay (20-4) and No. 6 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (21-3).

Braves defeat Parkers Prairie

Menahga set the tone for the day in the first four innings to eliminate Parkers Prairie and advance to the section title game.

Megan Cleveland led off the game with a walk and scored on Hannah Dissmore's RBI triple. Courtney Burkman followed with an RBI single as the Braves claimed a 2-0 lead.

After Parkers Prairie used Sari Noga's two-run triple to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning, the Braves took control by scoring twice in the third and six times in the fourth.

In the third, Dissmore led off with a single, Burkman had an RBI double and Kati Neisess lined an RBI single to give Menahga a 4-3 edge.

Cleveland walked, Rachael Bruer lined an RBI double, Diss-more was hit by a pitch, Burkman reached on an error and Neisess had a run-scoring grounder to start the inning. With two outs, a single by Kari Johnson and a double by Leann Bruer gave Menahga a 10-3 advantage.

Parkers Prairie scored twice in the fifth to conclude the scoring.


Dissmore went 2 for 3 with three runs, Burkman went 2 for 4 and Neisess went 2 for 4 to lead the offense. Cleveland and Vanessa Burkman also scored twice for the Braves.

Braves rout NYM in title game

The Braves broke open a close game by scoring four times in the fourth and five times in the seventh to win the section title and advance to the state tournament for the third time in school history.

Dissmore singled with two outs and scored on Burkman's double to give the Braves a 1-0 lead in the first before Johnson singled and scored on Brandi Leritz's single in the second for a 2-0 lead.

Johnson walked, Leann Bruer was hit by a pitch and Leritz walked to start the fourth inning. A single by Katie Miller, a triple by Cleveland and a grounder by Rachael Bruer gave Menahga a 6-0 advantage in the fourth.

New York Mills closed the deficit to 6-2 with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before Dissmore doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Neisess for a 7-2 edge in the sixth.

A five-run seventh inning put the game away. Leanne Bruer doubled, Leritz walked, Miller was safe on a fielder's choice, Cleveland lined a two-run single, Rachael Bruer singled, Dissmore had a two-run single and Neisess had an RBI single to end the scoring.

Dissmore and Burkman each went 3 for 4 while Cleveland, Neisess, Leritz and Miller had two hits each. Cleveland, Dissmore, Johnson, Leritz and Miller each scored twice for the Braves, who also qualified for state in 1998 and 2004.

What To Read Next
Get Local