Lady Lynx collect third state championship runner-up

Jamie Hult, Staff writer

The Lady Lynx softball team was named state runner-up Saturday in Sioux Falls. Coaches and players are (front, from left) Emily Moschell, Kendra Kuehn, Jeniah Johnson, Tessa VanDenTop, Gracie Adams, Andrea Cain, Brooke Heinen, Grace Wilford; (middle) Hallie Lichty, Ellie Toftland, Jackie Binham, Alika Csordicic, Ally Bruce, Tai Rude, Alyssa Reinschmidt, Mya Bunker, Grace Bowar, coach Emily Carroll; (back) coaches Jeff Belben, Jesse Johnson, B.J. Becker and Corey Christensen. Wilma Kirkeby/For the Journal

They say practice makes perfect, but three straight seasons of practice as Class AA state champion runner-up couldn’t help the Lady Lynx softball team take the state title from Sioux Falls O’Gorman Saturday. 
Due to Friday’s rainout, the two-day championship was crammed into one long day of softball – 11.5 hours from start to finish – for the Lynx at Sherman Park. 
BV began its bid for the title with big wins over Yankton and Sioux Falls Washington. The momentum propelled the Lady Lynx into the semifinals, where they snuffed out the O’Gorman Knights 4-0 to advance to the championship – a double-elimination double-header against, once again, O’G. The Lynx fell to the Knights 3-5 in the first game and 3-4 in the second, sealing BV’s second-place fate. 
“Story of our life for three years,” said Corey Christensen, who has coached the Lady Lynx to the trio of runner-up state finishes. 
But another runner-up placement didn’t diminish Christensen’s pride for his players and their perseverance. 
“I am just so proud of our kids. They deserve every bit of success that came their way, and unfortunately it just didn’t go our way in the final opportunity,” Christensen said. 
The Lady Lynx lost that opportunity in walk-off double. The game was tied 3-3 when O’G doubled in the final play of the game to drive in the winning run.
BV got on the board in the first inning when Gracie Adams homered on the first pitch of the at-bat, plating two runs. Although the Lynx out-hit the Knights 8-7, they were unable to overcome the deficit. 
Adams went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the Lynx, and Mya Bunker took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits, striking out two and walking one. 
BV 3, O’G 5
Nine hits weren’t enough for the Lynx to overtake O’G in the first state title game Saturday at Sherman Park. 
O’G scored on an error in the first inning, but BV knotted up the game at 1-1 on a Knights error. O’G pulled away for good in the second inning, plating four runs. 
Brooke Heinen and Gracie Bowar had two hits apiece to lead BV. On the mound Kendra Kuehn surrendered five runs on four hits over two innings, striking out two and walking zero.
BV 4, O’G 0
Beating the Knights was an easier task for BV in the semifinals, thanks to an error-free game and solid pitching. 
Adams doubled in the first inning to drive in BV’s initial run, going 2-for-2 to lead the Lynx at the plate. Jackie Bingham also batted in a run, while Bunker allowed four hits and zero runs, struck out three and walked zero. 
BV 11, SFW 2
A six-run third inning led the Lynx to an 11-2 victory over Washington in the state quarterfinals.
BV registered three home runs, starting with Andrea Cain’s solo homer in the first inning and followed in the third by Bunker’s long ball and a dinger by Emily Moschell. Bowar also collected an RBI in the third inning. 
BV racked up 12 total hits. Brooke Heinen, Cain, Moschell and Bowar each belted two in the lopsided victory. 
Bunker earned the win, allowing two runs on four hits and walking zero. Kuehn threw one inning in relief out of the bullpen. 
BV 8, Yankton 1
BV blew out the Yankton Gazelles to earn their initial win of the tournament. 
Bunker grounded out to drive in the first run. The Lynx broke away for good in the fifth inning, scoring five runs thanks to singles by Bunker, Jeniah Johnson and Cain, a sacrifice fly by Heinen and a double by Adams.
Johnson and Cain led the Lynx with two hits apiece, and Bunker earned the win in the circle, allowing two hits and one run in five innings, striking out two and no walks. 
The Lady Lynx finish the season at 18-6-2. Christensen reflected on the season as a whole. 
“Gracie, Tessa and Brooke are going to be missed – they were a big part of our team,” he said. “You don’t replace those kids or what they have done for our program. We are also very fortunate to have very talented group of young ladies coming back and a group of JV kids that got better every day. We are truly blessed with the young ladies that have been in our program, are currently in our program, and are the future of our program.”


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