Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Gary Riess, Coach
The Kimball softball team continued its tournament run with a thrilling semifinal victory over EV-W which put the Cubs into the Sub-Section 5A West Championship game. There the Cubs faced number one seed Osakis. They handed the Cubs their first loss in the double elimination round of the Sub-Section 5A tournament.
Tuesday's matchup, May 25, pitted the Cubs against the Eagles for the third time this year. The game had a tight tournament atmosphere, where the Cubs pulled out a tense 3-2 win. EV-W took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the inning with Tiffany Berscheid singling and scoring. EV-W got another run in the second off a Kimball error, as was their first run, but that would be it as the Cub defense shut them out for the final five innings.
Pitcher Megan Libbesmeier gave up only two hits the rest of the way, and four for the game. The Cubs put up 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, and fifth and had only one base runner each in the sixth and seventh.
The Cubs tied the game in the third, with Beth Libbesmeier scoring on a sacrifice fly by Tesslynn Callander. The Cubs had further chances to score in the third and fourth, but left two runners on each inning. In the fifth, Beth Libbesmeier again reached base, and after moving into scoring position, scored the game winning run on a ground out by Callander. With a 3-2 lead after five innings, the Cubs denied EV-W any comeback attempts in the sixth and seventh to close out the win. Beth Libbesmeier scored twice for Kimball, Tiffany Berschied was 2-3 with a run scored, and Tesslynn Callander had two RBI.
The 5A West championship game was Thursday, May 27, against Osakis. Kimball got off to a good start with Shantel Tschida and Tiffany Berscheid singling to open the game and Tschida scored for 1-0 lead. Osakis followed the same script with their first two batters singling but a third single-plated two runners for a 2-1 lead. The second inning proved to be a momentum changer. Shannon Donnay led off with a double, and scored to tie the game 2-2. Erin Gilpatrick, Beth Libbesmeier, and Shantel Tschida got on base to give the Cubs bases loaded with one out. Then the Osakis third-base-man made a big play by snaring a well-hit ball down the line and starting an inning-ending double play. To compound the damage, she then hit a huge two-run home run to give the Silverstreaks a game-changing lead, as part of a four-run outburst. The Cubs closed the gap with two runs by Berscheid and Callander, but Osakis then put the game away with a four-run two-out rally in the sixth. Kimball was led by Tiffany Berscheid who was 3-4 with a run scored. Shannon Donnay and Natalie Stein had doubles for Kimball with Donnay, Callander, and Tschida scoring the other Kimball runs.
The defeat leaves the Cubs as Sub-Section 5A West Runner-up. After receiving their runner-up silver medals and trophy, the team hopped on the bus to make the drive back to Kimball so the eight seniors on the Cubs roster could attend their high school graduation. Graduating from the Kimball roster are Tesslynn Callander, Shantel Tschida, Kelsey Vigoren, Erin Gilpatrick, Beth Libbesmeier, Kristin Kuechle, Abby Zoller, and Melissa Konz.
However, the season is not over. The Cubs move into the Section 5A Tournament at St. Cloud's Whitney fields June 1. Both Osakis and Kimball move on in the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Osakis takes on 5A East champion Barnum and the Cubs face 5A East runner-up Braham.
Kimball plays at 5, and then would play again at 7 if they prevail in their first game against the loser of the Osakis-Barnum game. The Section finals are Thursday, June 3, with the Cubs needing to win two more games to advance. Four straight wins are needed to move on, and any loss would end the Cubs season. This tournament run marks the first time the softball team has advanced this far since the 2003 season.