Badger/Greenbush-Middle River will make its second straight trip to the state championship game after beating Mankato Loyola 6-4 on Thursday in the semifinals. After Loyola took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third, the Gators answered by scoring four runs on four hits and a Crusaders error. Loyola had just one hit the rest of the way.

The Gators, who lost to New Life Academy in the 2015 final, will play Edgerton/SW Minnesota Christian in Friday’s final. The Dutchmen downed Cherry 12-2 in six innings. The Tigers actually took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning before allowing a flood of runs on 14 hits the rest of the way, including four each in the fourth and sixth innings before the game was stopped. Cherry’s Jordyn Smith had four hits and four RBI in the game while Liz Buckridge settled down to throw a four-hitter, striking out five.

Jim Paulsen