Lower seeds rise up in fastpitch playoffs

Three of the top four seeds in the Section 4AAAA fastpitch softball playoffs found their roads to the championship take an unexpected turn. First-round losses to lower-seeded opponents put them on a path to the section final that starts in the first round of losers-bracket play.

No. 2 North, No. 3 Stillwater and No. 4 Tartan were all upset in the first round on May 24 at the McKnight softball complex in North St. Paul. 

The Polars’ defeat at the hands of No. 7 Roseville had to be the biggest surprise. North, the Metro East Conference champs, hadn’t lost in the month of May and entered the post-season on a seven-game winning streak. 

Roseville’s overall record in the regular season wasn’t stellar (8-11), but the Raiders had been playing better in the second half of the season. They had knocked off top-ranked Park-Cottage Grove earlier in the month and made it two wins over ranked squads by blanking eighth-ranked North 2-0.

Fourth-seeded Tartan also fell to a lower-ranked foe as fifth-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall scored a 5-3 decision. The Raiders scored once in the top of the first before Tartan’s Marissa Hawkins homered in the second to tie it. 

Cretin went back in front with a run in the fourth but the Titans answered with two in the bottom of the inning. Hannah MacIoch’s two-run single gave Tartan a 3-2 lead.

The Raiders fired right back with three runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead for good. 

Hill-Murray, the sixth seed, also got in on the upset parade with a 5-2 win over third-seeded Stillwater. The Pioneers scored all the runs they would need in the top of the second inning as they plated three. The Ponies answered with single runs in the third and fifth but Hill-Murray scored in the fifth and sixth to restore the three-run cushion.

Woodbury, the No. 1 seed, was the only higher-seeded team to survive in the first round. The Royals took care of eighth-seeded White Bear Lake 4-0.

The first-round shake-up led to second-round match-ups that included Woodbury against Cretin-Derham Hall and Roseville against Hill-Murray. The losers-bracket games featured North against Stillwater and Tartan against White Bear Lake.

The second-round games were delayed a day by rain and completed past the deadline for this edition of the Review. Third and fourth round games were scheduled for May 27, which meant that the field was down to three teams by Memorial Day.

The section tournament continues with the losers-bracket final May 31 and the section championship round on June 2.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

Section 4AAAA fastpitch softball playoffs

Double elimination

 

First round

Game 1 — Woodbury 4, White Bear Lake 0

Game 2 — Cretin-Derham Hall 5, Tartan 3

Game 3 — Hill-Murray 5, Stillwater 2

Game 4 — Roseville 2, North 0

 

Second round

Game 5 — Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Woodbury

Game 6 — Roseville vs. Hill-Murray

Game 7 — Tartan vs. White Bear Lake

Game 8 — North vs. Stillwater

 

Third round

Game 9 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner

Game 10 — Game 7 winner vs. Game 6 loser

Game 11 — Game 8 winner vs. Game 5 loser

 

Fourth round

Game 12 — Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner

 

Loserís-bracket final, May 31, 4:30 p.m.

Game 13 — Game 12 winner vs. Game 9 loser

 

Section final, June 2, 4:30 p.m.

Game 14 — Game 9 winner vs. Game 13 winner

Second game, if necessary, to follow immediately

 

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