Chatfield softball relishes first state tournament appearance since 2009, with eyes on the ultimate prize

(ABC 6 News) — Only one local team made it to the MSHSL softball state tournament and they had a tough hill to climb to get there.

The Chatfield Gopher softball team needed to win twice in a row against Cannon Falls – a team that had beaten them before on May 31st in the Section 1AA tournament.

The Gophers could not lose again, and after beating Zumbrota-Mazeppa that same day to keep their season alive, they boldly predicted they would beat Cannon Falls even though the odds were against them.

On June 2, they backed up those claims behind junior pitcher Claire Springer’s masterful performance on the mound and the Gophers’ bats barreling up runs. Chatfield got its revenge with wins of 9-1 and then 11-0 in six innings to claim the Section 1AA championship.

Now the team is off for their first appearance since 2009.

Springer spoke about how she and the team were feeling between games and how it characterizes them.

"I went over and talked to some of my friends and my family and my dad got me some water," Springer said. "I had to warm up and it was just nice because the whole team was just so excited and pumped up for the next game. I think there was no way we were going to lose with that kind of energy and that’s kinda what carries the game is that type of hype in the dugout every day."

Unlike the section tournament, the state tournament is single elimination so the Gophers can not lose a game and get a second chance.

They will be the three seed there they will face Mounds Park Academy at 11 a.m. at Caswell Park.