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Rampage wins 12U Minnesota state softball title

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Twin Ports Rampage 12U girls fastpitch team as they were crowned Minnesota ASA Class A state champions two weekends ago and then came back to second in the North America Fastpitch Association Nationals this past weekend.

The Minnesota ASA State Tournament started out the last weekend in June with 232 12U teams going to two different state qualifiers. The Rampage came out of their qualifier with a third-place finish, giving them a No. 6 seed for the state tournament July 12-13.

The Rampage started off bracket play with a 3-1 win over Champlin Park and then followed it up with a 6-0 win over the Mankato Peppers to advance to the final four in the winner’s bracket going into Sunday.

On Sunday they beat Forest Lake 6-1 and followed up with an 11-0 win over Bloomington to make it to the championship. In the double-elimination format the winner of the losers bracket had to beat the Rampage twice for the state title.

Shakopee ended up winning the first title game 3-2, but the Rampage dominated the final game under the lights 6-1 for their first ever Minnesota State Class A title.

Pool play for the NAFA Nationals began on July 17 with 96 teams from seven states competing. The Rampage started pool play out strong, going 3-0 by defeating Lakeville, 13-0; OMGAA Storm, 11-3; and North St. Paul, 8-5.

Going into bracket play the Rampage beat the South Dakota Renegades 8-0 and then suffered their first loss of the tournament to Stillwater 4-2. This meant the Rampage had an uphill battle to come through the loser’s bracket.

Saturday night they beat Shakopee 7-1, followed by a 2-1 win over Eagan Sunday morning, a 5-3 win over the Detroit (Mich.) Vipers, a 7-1 win over Farmington and a walk-off 4-3 win over the Sioux Falls Diamond Steel to make it to the championship game.

But the Rampage ran out of gas after playing four games in a row and came up short in the championship game, losing to Stillwater 15-2.

The Rampage have this weekend off before traveling to Bloomington, Ind. for the 12U ASA/USA Nationals. The world series includes 73 teams from 21 states.

The Rampage will play the Southern Force from Texas in their first game at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. They will play either the Tennessee Crusaders or Ohio Stingrays at 3 p.m.

“Just to be part of this event is a huge honor for our program,” said Rampage coach Joe Stariha. “The state of Minnesota only gets three berths for this tournament and we are one of them. The girls are excited to get down there and see where we stack up against the best teams from the United States.”

NOTE: The Rampage improved to 60-9-1 with a 9-3 win over Esko in the Lake Superior 14U FastPitch League championship game Wednesday night. … Members of the Rampage include Madison Sislo, Mackenzie Correll, McKenzie Lehto, Erica Eller, Gabby Blomdahl, Hayley Spradau, Hannah Mihalik, Madysen Stariha, Peyton Fath, Paige Lach and Kylli Rajala.

The team’s coaches are Mike Mihalik, Joe Stariha and Tony Sislo. … Complete pairings for the national tournament may be found at gfp.tournamentasa.com.

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