State softball: Pair of late-game homers push Cretin-Derham Hall into first state final since 1991

posted in: News | 0

NORTH MANKATO – Brooke Nesdahl coined a term that now sits in quotes on Cretin-Derham Hall softball’s shirts.

“Play like it’s 0-2.”

“Because we like to keep that mindset that we’re still down, we’ve still got to play,” sophomore infielder Allie Castro said.

That Nesdahl generated that saying is fitting, considering the mentality she’s always trying to impress on the Raiders’ young squad.

“She’s always keeping us in check, always telling us not to get too high, not to get too down,” Castro said. “Just to stay in the moment.”

That paid off Thursday at Caswell Park.

A 3-0 Cretin-Derham Hall advantage quickly disappeared in the bottom of the fourth inning of the Class 3A semifinals, when St. Francis pitcher Sydney Borchert belted a three-run bomb to put the fifth-seeded Fighting Saints up 4-3.

Such a swing could cause a youth-filled team to wilt. It didn’t nothing of the sort to the top-seeded Raiders, who used a pair of their own homers to rally for a 5-4 semifinal victory. For the first time since 1991, Cretin-Derham Hall is onto the state title game.

Kaiya Anderson, Hannah Yaeger and Nesdahl all tallied multi-hit games for the Raiders, who will meet third-seeded Mankato East at 12 p.m. Friday in North Mankato for the crown. Cretin-Derham Hall is in pursuit of its first softball state title.

“It’s been awhile since CDH has been in the championship, and we’re excited to hopefully bring the hardware home and prove something this year,” Nesdahl said. “I feel it in my bones – this is us, this is our year.”

That was in doubt after Borchert’s homer, which entirely shifted momentum toward St. Francis (19-6). Cretin-Derham Hall then went down in order in the fifth, and things were looking bleak. But then Nesdahl – who surrendered the blast – stepped up to the plate with the bases empty in the sixth, perhaps seeking a touch of revenge.

A couple of pitches into the at-bat, Nesdahl could sense her moment was approaching.

“I just wanted a change in momentum for us to get that energy up,” she said. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to do this, let’s go.’ I was just swinging to try to do something, and it happened.”

Her homer knotted the contest.

Then, in the top of the seventh, Castro put the Raiders (20-6) out front with a home run of her own.

“I just really wanted to hit the ball and I just wanted to get on base. I wanted to keep it simple,” Castro said. “I got my pitch, and I got lucky, so I’m really happy.”

It led to an emotional trip around the base path.

“It made me want to go into tears,” Castro said. “Me and my team work so hard, and it happened. So now we’re going to the finals. I’m just so happy.”

The dramatic win comes one year after Cretin-Derham Hall was denied in the semifinals, where it fell 7-6 in 10 innings to … Mankato East. The Cougars won the state title in convincing fashion the following day.

“I think we all really hurt, but I think we left it all on the field. Of course, some people felt like they could’ve done more. But we were close,” Castro said of last year’s loss. “Me and my teammates say it’s the revenge game, because we lost against ‘Kato last year, and we’re coming back.”

Related Articles

High School Sports |

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

High School Sports |

State softball: First-inning charge leads Rogers to upset win over Forest Lake

High School Sports |

State softball: Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Agnes cruise to quarterfinal victories

High School Sports |

State softball: Forest Lake gets numerous key contributions in 4A quarterfinal win over Eden Prairie

High School Sports |

State softball: After squandering early lead, Rosemount walks-off Stillwater in 4A quarters to keep title defense alive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.