Saints advance to final four

The St. Francis Saints came off a strong softball season and entered the sections expecting their winning ways to continue.

The St. Francis Saints committed only two errors in three games in section 7AAA playoffs. Unfortunately, offensive play at the plate ultimately fell short and the Saints’ failed to advance to state. Photo by Bill Jones

The St. Francis Saints committed only two errors in three games in section 7AAA playoffs. Unfortunately, offensive play at the plate ultimately fell short and the Saints’ failed to advance to state. Photo by Bill Jones

After a first round bye and ranked third going into the section 7AAA playoffs, the Saints shut out Chisago Lakes 10-0 at St. Francis, but then were blanked 12-0 by second ranked Duluth Denfeld.

“We expected to win,” coach Alan Schlomann said of the Saints expectations going in to the May 30 Denfeld game. “When we played them earlier in the season we didn’t feel we were playing very well at that time. We had a much better feeling this time. Obviously, things didn’t work out,” Schlomann said.

Schlomann credits Denfeld with “hitting the heck out of the ball in that first game.”

The Saints, he said, didn’t play poorly, they just couldn’t hit.

“We did a lot of things right. We just got out-played,” Schlomann said.

Duluth Denfeld went on to lose to first ranked Forest Lake, the eventual section 7AAA section champions.

As for the 2012 season with its 16-7 win-loss record, Schlomann’s immediate highlight is that of the seniors on the team.

“They have been a joy to coach all along and this season has been no different. We got great leadership from them and they were all-in until the end,” he said.

Next season looks to be a challenge, what with six seniors graduating – and all of them infielders.

“I can’t lie, it will be difficult to replace our seniors,” Schlomann said.

Two of his seniors have been four-year starters, two have been three-year starters and two have been two-year starters, he said.

“The returning players know the situation and know the standards that have to be met,” Schlomann said. “I fully expect the younger players to do whatever is necessary to be ready to play at that level. If not, someone else will. We have a lot of talented players in our program. We expect to fill the positions with quality players.”

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com


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