Becker Is Battle Tested Heading to State Tourney
The Becker softball team is back in the state tournament this season after missing it last year. The Bulldogs won the Class 3-A softball title in 2021. Jason Baune is the head coach for Becker. He says the kids put in a lot of hard work and for the them to get this opportunity is rewarding and a fun experience.
The Bulldogs earned the #4 seed in state tournament and will play 5th seeded Cretin-Derham Hall at 11:15 a.m. Thursday on Field 2 at Caswell Park in Mankato.
Becker defeated St. Francis 1-0 in 17 innings in the section playoffs and then two days later after losing the first game to St. Francis 5-1 the Bulldogs downed them 7-5 to win the section 5-3-A title.
Jason Baune says they are battle tested with the tough competition they've been playing in all season in the Mississippi 8 conference. He explains the schools in the conference have solid high school teams and youth programs in their communities. Baune says the Big 9 conference in southeastern Minnesota may be the best Class 3-A conference in the state with the top two seeded teams in the state tournament in that conference. Those schools are Mankato East and Winona. Chisago Lakes and Becker, from the Mississippi 8 conference are both in the state tournament as well as #3 and #4 seeds. Baune says St. Francis, Big Lake, North Branch and almost everyone in the Mississippi 8 were challenging teams this season.
Becker is a senior dominated team with 8 seniors and that includes 6 in the starting lineup. Baune indicates they are a pretty experienced group with 4 seniors who were in the starting lineup 2 years ago when they won the state title.
Baune says Kurstyn Patnode has been a 3 year starter for them and played a variety of positions throughout your time at Becker. This is Patnode's 3rd straight year being 1st team all state. Madelyn Sherman, Hannah Bartlett, Nevaeh Gardner, and Kennedy Drehmel are also key contributors according to Baune. He says they've also had some younger players who've really contributed to the team's success this season.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Jason Baune it is available below.