Huskies softball nabs conference title, eyes state tourney next

In early April, the St. Anthony Village Huskies softball team played a hastily scheduled game against St. Agnes on a chilly afternoon. 

Despite having lost most of the firepower from their 2018 state tournament team, the Aggies beat St. Anthony 5-4. The prospect of a conference championship for the Huskies seemed faint indeed.

What a difference a month makes.

Last week at Holy Angels, the Huskies finished off a perfect run since that loss, throttling the 16th-ranked Stars 10-0 to capture St. Anthony’s first conference championship since 2013. The team finished 8-1 in its conference, including a 17-1 win over Visitation and a 6-0 win over second place Concordia Academy. In eight conference wins, the Huskies outscored their opponents 88-4.

The day before playing Holy Angels, the Huskies watched the Stars lose to Fridley, a team St. Anthony handled easily earlier in the season.  

Coach Lamar Brendemuehl entered the game on edge. “Before the game we talked about not taking them lightly, despite what we may have seen yesterday. I wanted them to have quality at-bats like they have done all season and to watch the contact with their eyes, and not watch where the contact goes. They definitely did that.”

Senior left fielder Hannah Wilke, junior first baseman Josie Donaldson and sophomore catcher Rachel Carter led the Husky hit parade, each turning in perfect days at the plate.  Wilke doubled, singled twice, scored three and drove home two. Donaldson had three singles and four RBIs.  Carter went 2-2 with a walk.

Freshman Kenzie Weber, senior Gabby Herlofsky and sophomore Annie Welch all drove in runs. The Huskies notched 11 hits in five innings, and scored in four of those five frames.

Freshman Ellie Peterson finished off a near-perfect conference season with five shutout innings. She worked out of several jams, escaping a two-on, no-out situation in the first, and after two were on with one out in the third, she ended the inning by spearing a liner headed for center field that would have scored two. She allowed five hits and a walk while striking out five.

“I wanted to execute my pitches according to our game plan,” said Peterson. “Just make it as easy as possible for our defense to do their job and shut them down.” 

In eight appearances against Tri-Metro Conference opponents, Peterson had an ERA of 0.00 in 28 innings, collecting four wins and a save. She allowed just 11 hits and struck out 39.

The Huskies now turn to preparation for the section playoffs, where they will likely face ranked teams Mahtomedi and Hill-Murray, and Northwest Suburban stalwart Totino-Grace. St. Anthony and Hill-Murray square off in a regular season tune-up this week.

“This is just the start of what we’re capable of doing this year,” said Peterson. “This team is so special. I just want to continue doing my job while playing for my teammates to achieve our goal of making it to the state tournament.”

 

—contributed by Jeff Sanford

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