Forever Etched in History: Putting a Bow On Chatfield’s Magical Run To a Championship

(ABC 6 News) — Another prep softball season is officially in the books, and after a season with many ups and downs, it was the Chatfield Gophers who emerged as the lone representative of Southeast Minnesota to win a state championship.

Several players say they believe the turning point of their season was back on May 5th, when they lost to rival St. Charles 10-1.

Chatfield would not lose another regular-season game and they went on to avenge that loss in the Section 1AA section tournament. Once the Gophers made their first state appearance since 2009, they set out to make more history.

They had never won in the tournament, aside from a consolation game, and they picked up their first victory when they beat Mounds Park Academy 8-4 in the first round.

In the semifinals, they beat Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, a team who knocked off the defending state champions. In the championship, the Gophers turned in a defensive masterclass against the top-seeded Proctor, beating them 3-2 to clinch the championship.

The Gophers proved they were more than just normal, they were golden.

It’s a run head coach Jerry Chase and the good folks in Chatfield will be talking about for a long time.

"It’s just a relief because you know it’s been stressful these last two weeks," Chase said. "I mean we’re playing very good teams, we’re eking by them by a run or two and we saw some good pitching. It’s just relaxing to be here and it’s over and I go ‘Ughhh I feel good’"

The Gophers team captains are all seniors, but in the end, the arm of junior Claire Springer was big in helping the Gophers capture their first title.

She was an iron woman throughout the postseason, pitching a doubleheader against Cannon Falls in the section championship, and taking the mound for every game in the state tournament.

Chase spoke about bringing her back for another season and the stress she endured in some of the close-ball games.

"When you got 2 or 3 kids coming back, it’s really neat," Chase said. "But as far as the stress on it, I think every pitcher was stressed because I was talking to my assistant coach all the time… "What do you think we should call?" That’s a lot of decisions to make, normally we don’t make that many."

Chatfield high school got their king of the mountain when the football team won it all.

Now the girls sit at the top as queens of the mountain.