The 2017 season may have come to a disappointing end for the Holy Angels softball team, but those feelings are tempered by the potential for a terrific 2018 campaign.

The Stars won the Tri-Metro Conference, going undefeated in league play, and earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A, Section 3 playoffs.

But they ran into red-hot Simley twice in the double-elimination sectional, falling to the Spartans 11-5 in the first round and again 6-5 in the losers’ bracket final Tuesday.

But the core of the Stars’ roster is made up of juniors, all of whom have been starting since ninth grade. Pitcher Melya Owens was commanding in the circle. Five position players all hit .400 or better — catcher Lauren Holtgren, third-baseman Riley Thalhuber, shortstop Megan Meyer, first baseman Erin Powers and outfielder Holly Lutgen.

Tough finish

It’s likely no lacrosse team in the state finished its regular season with a tougher schedule that the Blake girls’ squad.

In their final three games before the section playoffs, the Bears, once ranked as high as No. 2 in the state coaches association rankings, defeated No. 6 Edina 17-11, lost to current No. 2 Prior Lake 15-7, and closed with their traditional season-ending matchup against top-ranked Eden Prairie, falling 19-13 on May 25.

Eden Prairie had suffered its only loss of the season five days earlier when it lost to Loyola Academy in Chicago, 11-7.

Jim Paulsen