Beacons fastpitch tumbles in fourth round

The Concordia Academy fastpitch softball team saw its season come to an end in the fourth round of the Section 4AA playoffs last week. The seventh-seeded Beacons lost 9-5 to fifth-seeded St. Paul Highland Park on May 19.

The loss, Concordia’s second of the section tournament, gave the Beacons a 2-2 record in the post-season and an overall record of 9-13.

Offense was the key to Concordia’s success earlier in the post-season. The Beacons scored 16 runs in beating 10th-seeded St. Paul Academy 16-10 in the first round on May 14.

In the second round, Minnehaha Academy came up with the offensive outburst and beat the Beacons 10-4. The loss dropped Concordia into the loser’s bracket and an elimination game against a familiar foe.

Awaiting Concordia Academy was sixth-seeded and perennial section power St. Anthony Village, which suffered through its worst regular season in more than 10 years. The Beacons won another high-scoring playoff affair 10-8 to end the Huskies’ season.

This marked the third consecutive season that Concordia Academy advanced to at least the fourth round of the section playoffs. The Beacons also went 2-2 last year and were 3-2 in 2013. The last time Concordia lasted less than four rounds was in 2012, when they went 1-1.

That was one of the two seasons in which the Minnesota State High School League had a rule that allowed baseball and softball section playoffs to play a double-elimination format when only four teams remained instead of the usual eight teams.

Following the fourth round, four teams remained in contention in Section 4AA. Second-ranked and top-seeded Visitation had yet to lose rounds and was in the driver’s seat. The Blazers needed only one more victory to advance to the state tournament and had two chances to do it.

Also still alive were second-seeded and seventh-ranked Minnehaha Academy, third-seeded St. Paul Como Park and Highland Park. One of those three teams will face Visitation in the section final on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Northwestern University and will need to beat the Blazers twice to advance to state.

—Brian Meyers

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