The best pitching duel of the day pitted Le Sueur-Henderson’s Carlie Brandt, the Gatorade Minnesota Player of the Year and Gophers commit, against Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Morgan Olson, who will pitch for North Dakota State next year. This one went to Olson, who surrendered just three hits and struck out 10 in a 2-1 Zumbrota-Mazeppa victory in the Class 2A semifinals Friday.

Olson surrendered her lone run — scored by Brandt — in the bottom of the sixth inning but responded in kind in the next inning, tripling to left and scoring on an errant throw, giving Zumbrota-Mazeppa (25-1) the lead right back.

“I’ve gotten to know her over the last year and she’s an amazing player,” Brandt said, smiling through tears. “She deserves everything she gets.”

Brandt struck out 16, just as she did in a 6-0 quarterfinal victory over Esko.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa will face another of Minnesota’s top pitchers Friday.

Pequot Lake’s senior Kathryn Miska pitched her second complete game of the day, holding off a late charge by Rockford for a 2-1 victory. Miska pitched a one-hitter in the Patriots’ 5-1 victory over previously undefeated Pipestone in the quarterfinals.

Jim Paulsen