Mustangs rally for state third-place softball trophies

The state’s top adapted softball teams converged on Coon Rapids High School for the annual Minnesota State High School League state tournament May 31-June 1.


Both of Anoka-Hennepin’s teams (CI- cognitive and PI- physical) earned third-place trophies.

The Mustangs CI team scored a 9-5 win against Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville in the third-place game after losing to North Suburban 10-0 in five innings in the semifinal round earlier June 1.

The defending state champion Mustangs ended their season with a 10-5 record when junior Addesse Ferguson-Mason, senior Patrick Lawrence and eighth-grader Bethany Platt each scored twice in the third place game.

Anoka-Hennepin, the No. 4 seed from the North Division, upset South Division No. 1 seed Dakota United in an overwhelming offensive display by a 15-9 sore May 31.

Ferguson-Mason led the Mustangs with three hits and also drove in three runs, while Denny and Cota had two hits and drove in two runs each. Senior Rachel Palm contributed a lot in the field making great catches including the game-ending flyout.

The Mustangs PI squad had a 16-5 win in five innings against Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville in the third-place game June 1.

Anoka-Hennepin used a first-inning home run from Corey Gieske followed by five runs in the second inning and another five runs in the third inning to secure the third-place hardware and an 8-3 record.

“We really thought we had a shot to win it all,” coach Pete Kutches said. “We scored more runs this year with Hana France who’s a lead-off lefty and super fast to set the tone.”

The team opened the tournament with another five-inning affair, moving past South Division No. 3 seed Rochester 12-2. This time the Mustangs scored five times in the first inning, with three more runs in the third and another three runs in the fourth. Senior Erik Santa led the way with three runs and one RBI. Three players scored two runs including France, Geiske and Chris Walen. Geiske also drove in a pair of runs and seventh-grader Tyler Ezell knocked in three runs.

The win set up a semifinal match up against Dakota United which rode a five-run second inning to a 12-4 win. Scoring for the Mustangs were France, eighth-grader Joe Manion, Geiske and Ezell.

“Sometimes we take that for granted, having a chance to play in Coon Rapids,” Kutches said in addition to help with recruiting players and making them aware of the program. “Maybe that would motivate them to see that they can do it to.”

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