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Softball | General | 5/3/2022

HS Playoff Preview: North

Jerry Miller     
Photo: Perfect Game
The challenge of playing spring softball in the Northern Region is readily apparent, especially if the state athletic governing boards want to have their respective seasons close to the end of the spring term. South Dakota doesn’t even attempt to play high school softball or baseball. The other Northern Region states – Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming do, however,  play abbreviated, highly competitive seasons.

Minnesota



The learned softball fan knows full well of the fastpitch talent that comes out of Minnesota. Those who especially follow the summer travel season know that Minnesota is home to a great number of young players who compete on equal terms with the best players in the country. Many Minnesotans matriculate to college and perform at a very high level.

The Minnesota State High School League will hold their state championships at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Sectional play begins this week and will culminate the weekend of June 9-10 when the MSHSL will crown champions in four divisions.

AAAA favorites heading into the regular season as chosen by the Minnesota HS Softball Coaches association were Rosemount, Forest Lake, Chanhassen, Stillwater Area, and Centennial (Circle Pines). There are a number of other outstanding programs that are in the AAAA hunt.

Heading up Class AAA are Becker, Winona, Mankato West (Mankato), St. Anthony Village (Saint Anthony), and Byron. This conference is loaded with solid teams so it would not be surprising to see any number of teams make a deep playoff run.

Maple Lake, LeSueur-Henderson (LeSueur), St. Charles (Saint Charles), Mounds Park Academy (St. Paul) and Proctor head up a strong AA contingent that  appears, at least on paper, to be wide open with no true clear cut favorite.

The Class A division is led by Badger/GB-MR (Badger), Browerville, Cherry (Iron), Edgerton Southwest MN Christian, and Randolph.

North Dakota

The North Dakota High School Activities Association softball season got underway in early April. The playoff season begins in late May and culminates with championships played at the Class A and Class B levels, June 2-4. The Class A State finals will take place in Jamestown, while the Class B state champs will be crowned in Fargo.

Leading the way thus far in the Class A – West area are Dickinson, Bismarck, Jamestown, and Legacy (Bismarck). On the Class A – East side of the state, South (Fargo), Red River (Grand Forks) and West (Fargo) are the front runners. Each of these Class A schools is capable of winning the championship.

In Class B – Region 1, Central Cass, Harkinson-Fairmount-Rosholt-Campbell/Tintah-Lidgerwood, and Northern Cass are the early season leaders.

Thompson appears to have a championship-level club in Class B, Region 2 , while Bottineau and Renville head up Class B – Region 3.

Three programs, Harvey/Wells County, Beulah, and Hart River are neck-and-neck in Class B – Region 4.

Montana

Action in the Big Sky Country is winding up as all teams have their sights set on the playoffs and a big finish where the Montana High School Association will hand out trophies to three division champions, May 26-28. The Class B/C state tournament will take place at the d’Autremont Complex in Lewistown. The Class A state finals will be held at the Hamilton Athletic Complex in Hamilton, while the Class AA championship will be determined at the Ft. Missoula Softball Complex in Missoula.

The usual suspects are once again at the forefront of play this spring in the B-C Division, headed up by defending state champion, Florence. Also in the mix are Ennis and St. Ignatius-Arlee-Charlo.

Polson, the defending Class A state champ leads the way. Frenchtown, Fergus, and Laurel will provide plenty of fierce competition as the Class A group plays for a trip to Hamilton.

At the big school, Class AA level, Billings Senior appears to be on a mission. They will be challenged along the way by cross-town rival, Billings West, as well as a host of others from around the state including, Capital (Helena), Conrad, Sentinel (Missoula) and Russell (Great Falls).

Wyoming

The Wyoming High School Activities Association sponsors the state softball championship and provides a small, yet enthusiastic group a chance to compete for a state title. This year’s championship will be held in Gillette from May 19-21.

The top teams in Wyoming this spring are headed up by traditional powers Thunder Basin (Gillette), Central (Cheyenne), Campbell County (Gillette), Laramie, Kelly Walsh (Casper) and Cody.

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