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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 2, 2007

Minnesota girls softball games last 35 innings, 2 days

By Bill McAuliffe
Minneapolis Star Tribune

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. Brynne Dordel of Chaska (Minn.) High School knew that one pitch could end her softball season. So she threw 482 of them.

Rival hurler Kendra Huettle of Mankato West responded with 483 of her own.

And as expected, it was one pitch that made the difference as Chaska knocked in a run for a 5-4 victory in the 35th inning of a two-day, two-game duel that ended Friday evening, returning the Hawks to the state girls softball tournament. "This was fun to be a part of," said Chaska coach Joe Coenen.

"I didn't say it wasn't nerve-wracking."

An RBI single by Breanna Viere gave Chaska the section championship in a 16-inning game that was interrupted by a night's sleep, ice therapy and a day of classes. Play had been suspended in the 12th inning just after 11 p.m. Thursday, a day when the two teams played a total of 31 innings.

Chaska and Dordel had staved off elimination earlier Thursday, topping Mankato West, 4-3, in 19 innings. That victory avenged a 3-2 loss to Mankato West last Saturday and set up the contest to determine the section champion.

Tournament director Todd Waterbury said the decision to take an overnight break was the "responsible thing . . . The kids had school the next day," he said.

Huettle, who pitched 215 innings this season, and Dordel both said they went to bed sore and woke up sore. "We knew it was going to be a long road to win two games back-to-back," Dordel said. "Little did we know how tough it would be. The adrenaline just kept us going."

In the suspended game Thursday, neither team had scored since the fifth inning. For the day, Dordel had struck out 38 batters Thursday and Huettle 26.

Each added three strikeouts in Friday's four innings. Dordel, in fact, closed out the victory in the bottom half of the 16th inning with a third strike that the catcher dropped but threw to first to get the final out.

Melissa Litzer, mother of Chaska outfielder Mara Litzer, said her daughter had been exhausted when she got home Thursday night, as were her teammates.

"But I saw them in the parking lot today before the game, and they were ready to go," she said. "They knew they had one more win in them."