Lakeville North’s softball team just completed an unbeaten regular season, and it still has a chip on its shoulder.
The Panthers (20-0), the only unbeaten Class 3A team in the state, are ranked No. 2 behind Maple Grove. They didn’t climb out of the No. 3 spot until the last week of the season.
“Our upperclassmen have done a great job of leading the way,” Lakeville North coach Sean Hall said. “Even if we get down, the girls stay focused and don’t panic.”
The Panthers came from behind to win six games, and also won in six one-run games. They earned at least a share of the South Suburban Conference title for the third consecutive year.
“What made it pretty incredible is how good the teams are in our conference,” Hall said.
Pitchers senior Michaela Zins (12) and junior Maggie Dunnett (8) have combined for the 20 victories. Zins carries a 0.89 ERA while Dunnett has a 0.75 ERA.
The Panthers have six players with at least two home runs. Their top three hitters are seniors Jessica Meidl (.417 batting average), Katie Parker (.406) and Erika Rozell (.388).
The group now begins the quest of seeking their first state tournament appearance since 2007.
“Our section is loaded,” Hall said. “Any of the top eight teams or so can beat anyone on any given day.”
Shakopee lefthanded pitcher Sheldon Miks recorded his school-record 21st career win in a 10-1 victory over Holy Angels in a Missota Conference matchup. In typical Miks fashion, he allowed seven hits while striking out 11 and walking one in six innings of work.
“He is so strong mentally,” Sabers coach Tom Schleper said. “He has great poise and concept of the game, and what he needs to do on the mound to be successful.”
Miks is 5-1 on the season with a 1.07 ERA. He has struck out 54 and walked four (one intentionally) in 42 innings of work. He is 21-7 in his career.
He broke the career victories mark of 20 held by both Bill Heller from 1980 to ’83 and George Lill from 1957 to ’60. The school’s best pitcher of the year award is named in honor of Lill.
“He is a great kid,” Schleper said. “Sheldon is polite, respectful, unassuming — great leader of our program.”
• New Prague sophomore Taylor Ledwein turned in a stellar round of golf at the Red Wing Invitational. Ledwein shot a 5-under-par 66, tying the course record, in the 13-team girls’ meet at Mississippi National Golf Links. She tied for 10th place in the Class 3A state tournament a year ago.
• Lakeville North boys’ golfer Freddy Thomas continues to enjoy an outstanding senior season. Thomas fired a 4-under 67 at Crystal Lake Golf Club to earn medalist honors in the South Suburban Conference meet.