It will be a duel of two hard-hitting teams when Elk River takes on Orono on Thursday in the first round of the state softball tournament in North Mankato.
The Elks (18-3) are hitting .371 as a team and averaging 8.4 runs per game. They won their sectional outscoring four opponents 29-1. Kathi Opsahl has set a team record with 30 RBI while hitting .532 with four homers. Anna Pipenhagen has been pitching every inning and has set a team record with 16 wins. She has a 1.13 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 124 innings. She and the Elks have seven shutouts.
Orono (20-3), which placed third at state last year, is hitting .422 as a team and averaging 9.8 runs while giving up just 1.2 per game. Rebekah Smith, Star Tribune all-metro catcher, is hitting .603 with 54 RBI. The Spartans use two pitchers, Samantha Hartmann (11-0) and Hannah Bergh (8-2).
The winner will meet the Farmington vs. Forest Lake winner at 3 p.m.