Cathedral Back in State Tourney for First Time since 2014
The state softball tournament gets underway in a couple of days.
KEYC News 12 Sports Rob Clark takes a look at the Section 2A champs as they prepare to make a deep run over at Caswell Park.
New Ulm is back in the state tournament for the first time since 2014. The Greyhounds topped the rival Sleepy Eye St. Mary's Knights in dominant fashion to book their tickets to state.
"It was a little bit of payback. We lost 16–1 last year, it was a comeback winning in such a dominating fashion against really our rivals in every sport. It feels pretty good," said Jamie Portner, Cathedral head coach.
"I always say you want to beat the best and we knew that it was going to be some work to beat Sleepy Eye St. Mary's. But we knew we only had to win one game and winning the way we won was really, really special. Beating Sleepy Eye St. Mary's, they've been a nemesis in every sport. It's a great rivalry so it was our turn to get one," said Bob Mertz, Cathedral head coach.
"I think we're getting hot at the right time. It's kind of what we've been waiting for all season. We've had the potential to do it but this is the first time that I think everything is clicking together, flowing like we've always wanted it to be all season," said Portner.
"Recently our whole batting order has been gone through and we've been really improving on contact so now with that happening, our offense will be really dangerous and our defense because we're not afraid to knock down balls to get the outs," said Jenna Helget, Cathedral senior infielder.
"I think coming into the season we weren't sure who was gonna do what. It's six weeks stuck in a gym so it's nice to get some conditioning in, work on fundamentals here and there but other than that we've really come together chemistry wise and just performance overall has been really good for us," said Rose Hazuka, Cathedral senior catcher.
"I was in Arizona in April 1 and I had an assistant here Jamie Porter here was my co–coach she took the team and we hired Paige a former player of ours and she took over my three weeks in the gym. I think I'd come back and be able to coach a couple games in the gym maybe, outside and start playing games so I still had another three weeks in the gym so that was really a difference in terms of weather and it was different group, I came back and Jamie and Paige we're telling me, how are we going to have a freshman play shortstop, we're going to have a freshman play left field and I was little nervous about that and possibly a sophomore that's going to be playing third base and I thought oh we could be in trouble. But this group has really come together, especially lately, they've really played well. Our expectations are really high at Cathedral High School and the girls know that also. Our goal always is to win All–Conference and we did that this year and our next goal is to hopefully get into the state championship tournament and that happened also. So it's really been kind of neat. There's really only four girls that played varsity ball last year so that's really special to have a group just come back and come together and it's just really been rewarding," said Mertz.
"None of us have been to the state tournament before so I think it'll be a new experience for all of us, we can experience it together," said Hazuka.
The Greyhounds earned a three seed for the state tourney and will take on unseeded Badger Greenbush Middle River this Thursday out at Caswell Park, we'll have the highlights right here on KEYC News 12.
--KEYC News 12