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Blossoms are headed back to state

blooming prairie softball, state, shawntee snyder
Blooming Prairie slugger Shawntee Snyder rounds third with a beaming smile after hitting the game-winning two-run home run against Wabasha-Kellogg in the fifth inning. Snyder’s bomb to deep right-center field had fans on their feet and her teammates leaping in joy. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

No. 1 Blooming Prairie softball punched its ticket to the MSHSL state tournament next week with a 4-1 win over No. 6 Wabasha-Kellogg in the section championship tie-breaker game.

The Awesome Blossoms beat Wabasha-Kellogg 5-4 in the teams’ first matchup in the semifinals, but lost 21-1 to the Falcons in the first championship game, forcing a tie-breaker game to decide who would advance to state.

The teams entered the top of the fifth inning tied before senior captain Shawntee Snyder took matters into her own hands, launching a deep home run to right-center field that put Blooming Prairie up 3-1.

“I just had to hit it hard. I had to go for the barrel. I knew right away it was gone when it hit the bat,” said Snyder.

Blooming Prairie added an insurance run late, but Snyder’s bomb – mixed with a complete game gem from pitcher Macy Lembke – pushed the Awesome Blossoms back to their first state tournament appearance since winning the Class A title in 2013.

“How about that for a bulldog mentality? We just got our butts kicked in the first game, but Macy just bounces back to give up one run in the final game. If that isn’t bulldog mentality, then I don’t know what is. I’m really proud of her,” said Rutledge on Lembke’s pitching performance.

Blooming Prairie’s big win earned the team the No. 3 seed in the Class A state tournament and matches the team up against random draw No. 4 seed West Lutheran in the opening round of action.

The Awesome Blossoms enter the state tournament with a 20-5 overall record and will be slight favorites over the 17-4 Warriors.

The two sides will face off on Field Four at Caswell Park on Wednesday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m.

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