The team with the trophy and medals. In front, are Kaitlyn Griffin, Megan LaPlante, Sidney Irish, Jennifer Hanson and McKenzie Meeker. In the middle row are Kaylie Bernard, Janessa Erding, Kirsten Keefe, Sydney Gould and Hailee Stock. In back are coach Jeff Johson, Maddy Larrabee, Brook Irish, Kyra Dokken, Shelby Bernard, coach Mark Eickhoff and coach Kaitlyn Keefe.  SAM CLEMENS/CHATFIELD NEWS
The team with the trophy and medals. In front, are Kaitlyn Griffin, Megan LaPlante, Sidney Irish, Jennifer Hanson and McKenzie Meeker. In the middle row are Kaylie Bernard, Janessa Erding, Kirsten Keefe, Sydney Gould and Hailee Stock. In back are coach Jeff Johson, Maddy Larrabee, Brook Irish, Kyra Dokken, Shelby Bernard, coach Mark Eickhoff and coach Kaitlyn Keefe. SAM CLEMENS/CHATFIELD NEWS
After a loss two Wednesdays ago dropped them into the losers' bracket of the Section 1A tournament, the Gopher softball team clawed its way back into state tournament contention with four wins, two over state-ranked competition, to reach the section finals.

Coming from the loser's bracket of the tournament, the Gophers would have to defeat their opponent in the finals, the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights, twice in order to advance. Chatfield won the first game of the series, played last Thursday, forcing a winner-take-all game later the same night. The Gophers couldn't pull off another win as they fell in a thriller that went extra innings.

Lewiston-Altura 3, Chatfield 13 (F/5)

Chatfield made short work of the Cardinals in its first losers' bracket game, defeating them via the 10-run rule. Though Lewiston-Altura took a three run lead in the first inning, the Gophers responded with 13 unanswered runs to run away with the game.

Jennifer Hanson started the game in the circle for the Gophers and pitched all five innings. She allowed three unearned runs in the first inning on two hits and three walks. From that point on, however, she was lights out, retiring 12 of the next 14 Cardinal batters, including 10 in a row, to close out the game. In all she allowed three hits, four walks and struck out eight in her five innings of work.

The Gopher lineup erased the early three run deficit in rapid fashion, scoring six runs in the bottom of the second. Maddy Larrabee singled to lead off the inning and came around to score one batter later when Brook Irish reached on a three base error. They added two more runs to tie up the game then took the lead on a two run double by Shelby Bernard that scored Sidney Irish and Janessa Erding. Bernard scored the final run of the inning on a double from Kirsten Keefe two batters later.

After scoring two runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-3, the Gophers added five more in the fifth to end the game. The scoring in the final inning was highlighted by a bases-loaded, walk-off double from Larrabee that scored Kaylie Bernard and Sydney Gould. The double from Larrabee was her third hit of the game as she was one of four Gophers to record three hits in the game.

Chatfield 9, Wabasha-Kellogg 2

The win against the Cardinals advanced the Gophers to the next round where they met the Wabasha-Kellogg Falcons. Having already lost to the Falcons twice this season, including once earlier in tournament play, Chatfield was able to exact revenge when it mattered most, advancing with a 9-2 victory.

Chatfield jumped out to an early two run lead in the first inning as Sidney Irish and Kaitlyn Griffen, who was running for Shelby Bernard, scored after reaching base on singles.

The Falcons tied up the game at two with a run in each of the bottom half of the first and third innings. That would be all they would get, however, as Hanson was again able to hold her opponent in check and give her team a chance to win. She pitched another complete game, this one spanning seven innings, during which she allowed two unearned runs on five hits while striking out five.

A fourth inning single from Keefe that scored Griffen broke the tie and gave the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish. Keefe scored later in the inning on a Brook Irish single to push the lead to two runs.

After a Larrabee double scored Keefe in the sixth inning to extend the lead to three runs, Chatfield blew the game open in the seventh with four more runs. The scoring was aided by a pair of Falcon errors as well as a run scoring triple from Gould, who also scored in the inning on a Keefe single.

Hayfield 3, Chatfield 4 (F/8)

In the quarterfinals of the section 1A tournament the Gophers met the first of two consecutive state-ranked opponents, facing the fifth ranked Hayfield Vikings. The Vikings held the lead for much of the game but were ultimately defeated by a late Gopher rally.

The Vikings jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first inning. They held that lead until the third when the Gophers tied the game up with a couple of runs of their own. The first of those two runs was scored on a Sidney Irish double that plated Kyra Dokken. Irish scored the second run later in the inning, advancing home on a passed ball after reaching third on a ground out.

Hayfield retook the lead in the fifth as it scored its third and final run of the game off of Hanson, who was again the starting pitcher for the Gophers. She pitched another complete game, going eight innings and allowing the three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five.

Down to their last three outs, the Gophers were able to rally in the bottom of the seventh to push across a run that sent the game into extra innings. Megan LaPlante scored the tying run for the Gophers, reaching on a walk and making her way around the bases on a series of stolen bases and a ground out.

The Vikings were held scoreless in the top half of the eighth inning, setting the stage for a comeback win for the Gophers. Erding led off the bottom half of the inning with a double and came around to score the game-winning run on a walk-off single by Sydney Gould two batters later.

Chatfield 6, Fillmore Central 1

The win over the Vikings advanced the Gophers to the semifinals of the section tournament where they met the eighth ranked Fillmore Central/Lanesboro Falcons. Like the Wabasha-Kellogg Falcons, Fillmore Central had also defeated Chatfield twice previously, only to have the Gophers prevail with their respective seasons on the line.

The Gophers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as Sidney Irish crossed home plate after reaching on a leadoff single. She scored on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Erding that resulted in a throwing error by the Falcon catcher.

In the third inning, Chatfield added four more runs to extend its lead to five runs. Erding got the scoring started, crossing home plate on a Shelby Bernard double after being hit by a pitch. Griffen, running for Bernard, scored two batters later on a single from Keefe. A double from Brook Irish later in the inning scored Keefe as the Gophers continued to pile on.

The Falcons got one run back in the bottom of the third but that would be the extent of their offense in the game as Hanson turned in her best performance of postseason play. She pitched another complete game, surrendering the one run, unearned, on three hits and three walks while striking out 10 batters.

Chatfield 7, Kenyon-Wanamingo 1

In the section finals, the Gophers met the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights, who had yet to lose in the section tournament. Therefore, in order to advance to the state tournament, Chatfield would need to defeat the Knights twice.

The two teams were locked in a pitcher's duel for the first five innings, as both were held scoreless by the opposing pitcher. Hanson pitched for the Gophers again and had another outstanding outing. She pitched all seven innings for her team, allowing one run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven. The run she allowed came in the sixth inning and gave the Knights a 1-0 lead heading into the seventh.

That lead was short-lived, however, as the Gophers fired back with seven runs in the top half of the seventh. A Shelby Bernard single that scored Kaylie Bernard got the ball rolling for Chatfield and tied the game up at one. From there, the Gophers loaded the bases in front of Keefe who promptly unloaded them with one swing of the bat as her double scored Sidney Irish, Griffen, and Gould. Chatfield added three more runs in the inning, capped off by back-to-back run scoring singles from Brook Irish and Hailee Stock.

Kenyon-Wanamingo 15, Chatfield 9 (F/9)

With the Gophers winning the first game, a second game was necessary to determine which team would advance to the state tournament. Contrary to the offensive stalemate in the first game, the two teams exchanged runs early and often in the nightcap.

The Knights started the scoring with two runs in the top of the first inning. Chatfield answered with a pair of runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, as a Keefe single scored Gould and Erding.

Kenyon-Wanamingo broke the tie in the third inning, scoring a pair of runs to take a 4-2 lead. They then added another run in the fourth to extend the lead to three.

In the bottom half of the fourth the Gophers fired back with a pair of runs that cut the lead to one. Stock and LaPlante scored the runs, rounding the bases on an Erding double after reaching on singles. Chatfield added another run in the fifth to tie the game up at five. The fifth inning run was scored by Shelby Bernard, who doubled to lead off the inning and crossed home plate on a double by Keefe two batters later.

The score would remain tied at five until the ninth inning, when the Knights exploded for 10 runs in the top half of the inning. The Gophers, undeterred by the bedlam that had just occurred, put together a rally in the bottom of the inning. That rally stalled at four runs, however, as the Knights escaped with the victory and advanced to the state tournament.