Mankato West gears up for state tournament

The Scarlets play Monitcello in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:37 PM CDT
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - For the second straight year, the Mankato West softball team is heading back to the Class AAA State Tournament at Caswell Park.

After stumbling into postseason play losing two out of three to close out the regular season, West regrouped, getting back to form to go undefeated in Section 2AAA en route to yet another state tournament appearance.

“Paying attention to detail, not that we weren’t before. It was a situation where we needed to do things better,” said Don Krusemark, Mankato West head coach.

The Scarlets did just that in the section tournament, with an offense capable of scoring runs in a handful of ways depending on the script of a game. In the section championship game against cross-town rival Mankato East, runs were hard to come by, but West turned to small ball, manufacturing the two runs needed to win in a pitcher’s duel.

“You do what the defense is going to give you. If it calls for small ball, hit and runs, we have the players that can do that. We have a lot of players you didn’t see on the field in the dugout that are good players too. They come on and do some running for us. There’s a reason they call it a team, we depend on all 18 to win a section title,” said Krusemark.

The seniors on this team are no stranger to this moment after finishing third at the state competition last year.

“We are very trusting of each other, and just not going down without a fight,” said Abbi Stierlen, Mankato West senior P/IF.

West is the second-seeded team at state this year and will take on unseeded Monticello in the first round of action this Friday at 11 a.m.

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