NORTH MANKATO – The coronation was forever in the making, so putting it on hold for a few hours while a virtual monsoon swept through Mankato’s Caswell Park was not about to make a difference.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa won the first state championship in school history, beating Pequot Lakes 7-0. The Cougars were an inning away from clinching the championship when severe storms moved in, forcing a 3-hour, 59-minute delay.
When play resumed, Cougars pitcher Morgan Olson took care of business herself, fielding a ground ball and line drive right back to her, then struck out the final Pequot Lakes batter.
“It was a little frustrating that we had to wait to get three outs but we got some food and rested up and I think we came out stronger,” said Olson, who had her third straight strong outing, striking out 12 batters and giving up two hits.
Olson, who will pitch at North Dakota State next year, outpitched another elite opponent Friday in Le Sueur-Henderson’s Carlie Brandt, then dominated Pequot Lakes and its star, Kathryn Miska, in the final.
“We peaked at the right time,” Olson said. “We hit good pitching and we played great defense. We did everything right.”
With Olson in the circle and seven seniors on the roster, expectations for Zumbrota-Mazeppa (26-1) were high this season. After meeting those expectations, the Cougars were still unsure how to react.
“There were expectations, but I don’t think they were bad expectations,” senior shortstop Kelly Nordquist said. “I’m not sure how I feel right now. It’s still sinking in. It’s kind of unreal.”