Osseo-Fairchild softball wins back-to-back regional titles

COCHRANE - This time they brought the trophy.

Last season when Osseo-Fairchild High School's Softball Team won its first-ever WIAA regional tournament championship, the traditional WIAA plaque awarded at the end was not made available. O-F players had nothing to celebrate with.

This wasn't the case in the Division 4 regional championship game played on Thursday, May 25 at Cochrane-Fountain City High School. The plaque was there and the OFHS celebrated effusively around it and holding it up after beating C-FC by an 11-3 score.

This was the second higher seed the No. 7 seed Thunder have beaten in the tournament, knocking off No. 2 seed Melrose-Mindoro 18-10 on Tuesday, May 23. In that game the Thunder plated seven runs in the first inning and led 9-0 after two. The . Two more runs in the second stretched the lead to 9-0. But the Mustangs answered with 5 runs in the bottom of the second to end any thought of a runaway. The Thunder had two more multi-run innings, four in the fourth and four in the seventh.. The Thunder had 15 hits in the ballgame and Katie Skoug was the winning pitcher.

Skoug again was the winning pitcher in the regional final at Cochrane-FC. Big innings at the plate again sent the Thunder on their way to back-to-back regional titles. Rae Prudlick was O-F's top hitter in this ballgame going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI's.

O-F improved to 13-8 overall and is one of three Western Cloverbelt Conference teams headed to sectionals. The Thunder's Division 4 semifinal match-up is at No. 4 Blair-Taylor at 5 p.m. next Tuesday, May 30. It will be the fourth Dairyland Conference team in row the Thunder have taken on in the playoffs. B-T barely survived a challenge from last year's sectional champion, No. 5 seed Onalaska Luther, 4-3 in their regional final.

"Our league certainly has prepared us with the quality of competition and play we get in every ballgame," O-F head coach Josh Anderson said. "I knew, looking at our path in the regional tournament, we would have a chance to win it if we played good defense and if our bats woke up which at the end of the regular season they were asleep."

Anderson also pointed out that while the team is loaded with specialized softball players they are all good athletes in their own right and all very competitive. If they get knocked down they're back at it, ready to do better and win. That's what senior Maddi Loonstra who, along with the other upper classmen on the team, have been of these historic regional titles for the O-F softball program, loves about playing with them.

"It's been an awesome experience, especially with the teammates I've had," Loonstra, one of six seniors on the team, said. "It's a competitive group and we're there for each other to keep ourselves going and that's what helped us win and hope to keep it going."


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