June 14, 2017 10:47 PM
(ABC 6 News)- The Zumbrota-Mazeppa softball team came into the year with a lot to live up to, and that was to defend their state title from last year--the Cougars were able to do that, winning their second straight Class AA state softball championship.
“It was exciting to win it again, it was really emotional. To have some people on this team that hadn’t done that last year it was good to have them with us and experience that,” Cougars senior third baseman Taylor Blakstad said.
“I couldn’t be happier for them, especially for the kids that weren’t on the team last year,” Cougars head coach Kevin Nelson said.
The Cougars had a slow start to the season, but their determination and hard work paid off, earning them the 2017 State Championship title.
“We weren’t a very good team," Nelson said. "I told the players, ‘hey we have to keep getting better,’ it isn’t going to matter if we’re 10-10 (overall), if we put it together at the end and get to a state tournament, that’s all that really matters."
“I think that when we came into the season, we had high hopes but everyone was kind of doubtful with us,” Blakstad added. "We worked really well together, and everybody was thinking about the team and not their own personal self."
The Cougars softball team had a work ethic like no one else. “They are a bunch of hard working team oriented players,” Nelson said. “They came to work every day to get better as softball players.”
The team says they knew that any extra work that was put in would eventually show through. The coaches told us if one person makes a mistake, everybody make a mistake, it’s not one person," Blakstad said. "We knew that we had a big title to hold from last year so that was super important."
“We push each other harder than I think any team I’ve been on,” Cougars junior catcher Natalye Quam added.
And when the players arrived in Mankato for the state softball championships, they preached one thing to each other--they didn't come just to play, they came to win.
Updated: June 14, 2017 10:47 PM
Created: June 14, 2017 02:43 PM
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