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State softball: Rosemount generates a bevy of hits, but not enough runs in semifinal loss to New Prague

NORTH MANKATO – Rosemount compiled 11 hits across seven innings in Thursday’s Class 4A state semifinal against New Prague, which is usually the formula for an offense outburst.

Yet they never quite came at the proper time in the proper situations.

The top-seeded Irish left 10 runners on base – leaving the bases juiced twice – as they fell 3-1 to fourth-seeded New Prague to end Rosemount’s title defense.

Rosemount left runners on base in six of the seven innings.

“I think that we’re just a little bit unlucky today, and that’s OK,” Rosemount coach Tiffany Rose said. “We had runners on, we were putting the pressure on, and we just didn’t get the clutch hit. That’s the nature of the game. Sometimes, the ball just doesn’t fall for you. That’s kind of what happened today.”

New Prague ace Jordyn Marsh wiggled out of one tight spot after another. Rosemount loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, but Marsh got the next three batters out in succession to keep the Irish off the board.

“I think it really kept us going,” Marsh said of the early escape. “All the energy that we put into this game allowed us to win. We had more energy than they did.”

Marsh said she was trying to attack every batter, while also keeping hitters off balance with a healthy dose of her spin pitches. The senior said the wind aided in her efforts.

The wind was blowing wildly – hanging steadily around 20 miles per hour – in North Mankato on Thursday, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour throughout the day. On some fields, the wind was pushing the ball toward the outfield. But on Field 1 – where this bout was held – it was blowing straight in. Marsh said a few hard hit balls for Rosemount were blown foul.

“I think the wind was helping me when I was pitching, for sure,” Marsh said, “and my team adjusted well to the wind.”

Rose noted the wind was the same for both teams, and the mentality all day was to hit line drives. That’s something Marsh managed to do in the biggest of spots.

She came to the plate in a scoreless game in the fourth frame with runners on second and third.

“All I was thinking was base hit,” Marsh said. “Runners on, so I’ve got to produce.”

She did, lacing a ball to left that knocked in both runs. New Prague – who mustered just four hits for the day – scored all three of their runs in the fourth.

The Trojans (21-3) took advantage of their lone opportunity.

Rosemount (22-5) is more than capable of rallying, but that task did get taller given the conditions.

“You’re gripping the bat a little tighter. We’re trying to get the hit, and it’s hard to win the game and get the clutch hit when you’re trying to get the clutch hit,” Rose said. “In that sense, the wind comes into play a little bit. We have some great girls who have some great swings. So on a different field, would we have hit one out? Maybe. So that maybe changes the game. But we were looking for some line drives, and it just didn’t go our way.”

Rosemount did generate one more strong rally. Bryn Anderson delivered an RBI single in the sixth for the Irish’s lone run. Rosemount had the bases loaded later in the frame with just one out, but Marsh again escaped to limit the damage.

New Prague will meet Rogers in the state title game at 10 a.m. Friday in North Mankato, while Rosemount will play Forest Lake in the third-place game.

“To be honest, they wouldn’t be as disappointed if they didn’t have the success that they had,” Rose said. “We’re disappointed in the sense that of course we want to be playing for a state championship, but this team has done great stuff. They’re not done yet. These girls, they’re going to fight. They want to finish their season on a win. These seniors want to win, because they know how to win.”

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