North Mankato, Minn. – It wasn't the fairy tale ending Norwood Young America had dreamed about.
The best season in Raiders history — 25 victories, a cadre of heavy hitters, including the state single-season record holder for home runs, and a 10-plus-runs-per-game attack — came to a disappointing end in a 10-1 loss to Rochester Lourdes in the Class 2A championship game.
Lourdes pitcher Anna Taylor baffled the NYA hitters with her array of offspeed pitches. Taylor struck out nine and didn't walk a batter, holding the Raiders offense to five hits and their lowest run total of the season.
"She's got two types of changeup, one that rolls up and one that rolls down. And her riseball is fabulous," Lourdes coach Becky Macken said. "She's a very talented pitcher."
The Eagles (25-3), who were held to just two runs in their 2-1 semifinal victory over Pipestone, broke open the game with seven runs in the third inning. They added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 10-0 lead. NYA scored its only run in the fifth.
"[Taylor's] been lights-out all week," said coach Joe Kley of Norwood Young America (25-3). "… We knew coming she was going to be good. Unfortunately, we didn't square too many balls up."
Macken said her team's tournament performance was a result of playing a tough schedule. "We challenged ourselves all year, playing 3A and 4A teams," she said. "… It really prepared us playing teams out of our class."