Back on Top! Elk softball caps 7-week thrill ride with state title

by Bruce Strand

Sports Editor

Elk River’s 2013 softball season started three weeks late due to a winter that wouldn’t go away, but once the Elks got going they had seven thrill-filled weeks. It started with a 10-0 rout of Champlin Park at Youth Athletic Complex on Friday, April 26, before a big audience enjoying the first nice evening to watch sports, and ended with a 4-3, eight-inning win over Prior Lake at Caswell Park in North Mankato on Friday, June 7, before another large and considerably more excited crowd at the state championship game. The Elks, capturing the school’s second title in five years, finished 21-3 behind big bats (.363 team average, 16 homers), stout defense (just one error per game) and the tireless right arm of Anna Pipenhagen. Maybe it helped that Stacey Sheetz was pregnant again. The coach was carrying her first child, Lainey, when the 2009 team won state, and the Elks didn’t return until this year, with another little shortstop due any time. “I told my husband, ‘Hey, let’s keep doing this,’” she joked, adding that her players are already asking for another pregnancy next season.  (And by the way, the Elks lose only two players.)

THE STATE CHAMPS 

STARTING LINEUP

Austyn Beese (sr), SS

Marie Deaton (fr), DH

Moriah Bruns (jr), C

Kathi Opsahl (sr), LF

Jessica Neuman (jr), 2B

Jayme Langben (fr), CF

Anna Pipenhagen (jr), P

Courtney Jensen (jr), 1B

Ali Krohn (so), 3B

Sydney Person (jr), RF

OTHER ELKS

Morgan Mogler, Kaylee Roche, Gabrielle Haack, Emma Pieper, Alyssa Gernscheid, Alivia Lensing, Olivia Wolters, Samantha Macguire (student manager)

COACHES

Head: Stacey Sheetz

Assistants: McKayla Kroll, Amy Scheibel, Amy Kahl

 

CLASS 3A STATE

SOFTBALL TOURNEY

 

QUARTERFINALS

Elk River 2, Orono 1

Forest Lake 3, Farmington 1

Maple Grove 2, Bloomington Jefferson 1

Prior Lake 3, Stillwater 1

SEMIFINALS

Elk River 9, Forest Lake 3

Prior Lake 5, Maple Grove 3

CHAMPIONSHIP

Elk River 4, Prior Lake 3         (eight innings)

 

Elk River’s state champion teams

1994: Girls Nordic Ski … Coach: Rollie Ring-Jarvi

2001: Boys Hockey … Coach: Tony Sarsland

2004: Girls Hockey … Coach: Barry Hohlen

2005: Girls Golf … Coach: Dave Bleyhl

2009: Softball … Coach: Stacey Sheetz

2009: Girls Cross Country … Coach: Mike Niziolek

2012: Boys Tennis … Coach: Randy Ronning

2013: Softball … Coach: Stacey Sheetz

 

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