NORTH MANKATO - Kelsey Anderson entered Thursday's Class 3A state quarterfinal game with 274 strikeouts in 160 innings.
The Burnsville Blaze senior added 17 more in a 1-0 no-hit victory over the Brainerd Warriors in the opener. And Brainerd lost to Prior Lake 7-0 in the consolation semifinals to conclude its season at 21-4.
Brainerd pitcher Nikki Anderson delivered against Burnsville in the third inning of Thursday's game, which was suspended with the score 0-0 in the third inning and was later completed.
Photo by Bill Johnson
The no-hitter is the 27th in state history. Anderson was one walk to Brainerd's Jenni Smolke away from a perfect game. She needed just 90 pitches, 67 of which were strikes, to improve her record to 22-3.
"She had the speed just like (Brainerd starting pitcher) Nikki (Anderson)," said Warriors right fielder Chelsie Manton. "I think we just kept going after her rise ball a lot.
"We practice with Nikki a lot and we knew we could hit this pitcher, but I don't know, we just didn't get a hold of the ball as often as we would have liked."
Of the 22 Warrior batters, only four put the ball in play. Anderson secured a first-pitch strike to 15 of those batters.
Burnsville 1, Warriors 0
Prior Lake 7, Warriors 0
Key: Kelsey Anderson threw the 27th no-hitter in state tournament history
Overall: Brd 21-4
"Our kids came to compete and they did," said Warrior head coach Mike Zauhar. "They have an outstanding pitcher. We competed hard. I was happy the game ended on hits rather than an error. They deserved it. They put together a couple of hits and got the run across."
That run was manufactured in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Burnsville catcher Maggie Dunsmore singled and scored on a two-out single by Anna Sames.
Up to that point, Brainerd's Nikki Anderson pitched well. The sophomore lefty allowed just three hits and struck out eight. She did hit two batters and walked one.
Burnsville coach Hillary Hansen made her case to suspend Thursday's game against Brainerd, which was suspended right after the discussion. Warriors coach Mike Zauhar also was in on the discussion with the umpires. Play was later resumed, and suspended again, before Burnsville won 1-0.
Photo by Bill Johnson
She was helped by solid defense behind her. Manton snared two drives her way in right. The Warriors committed just one error and Anderson ended that threat by striking out the next batter to end the nning.
"We all went out knowing that we needed a tough defense," said Manton. "For me, I just went out there thinking I needed to get everything I could get to. I just went all out and gave 110 percent. I think everybody played great on defense and Nikki did very well. She got out of a bases-loaded jam and everyone helped out."
Burnsville's only other threat came right before and then after a three-hour and 15-minute rain delay. Prior to the delay, designated player Taylor Mackey walked and Holly Hardzinski singled with no outs. Then came the delay. A trip back to the hotel, lunch and then back to the park proceeded a sacrifice and a walk to load the bases. Nikki Anderson then struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
"I think the delay does affect you, but I think for us, we stayed as a team together," said Manton. "We didn't all go our separate ways. We kind of made sure we were together and still focused when we got back on the bus to come back here. We just needed to get warmed up and play like we were in the beginning."
Said Zauhar: "I thought we handled that real well. Our coaching staff and parents did a nice job. We got back to the hotel, dried out and got some food in us and came back. I thought we were really well-prepared because they had runners on first and second and nobody out. They didn't get any runs so I was pleased with that."
Brainerd's offense never got going Thursday as the Warriors fell to Prior Lake 7-0 and future Division II pitcher Brittany Lauterbach in the consolation semifinals.
Lauterbach held Brainerd to three hits. Only Brainerd's Hallsey Olson made it past first as she hit a bunt single in the first inning and stole second. Alanna Hanson and Nikki DeChaine collected Brainerd's other hits.
"Their pitcher was outstanding," said Zauhar. "She's going to Minnesota State next year and was just good as was the pitcher we saw in the first game. That is what it is. We ran into two outstanding pitchers. You have to score a run to win the game. I don't care if we had Francisco Liriano pitching, you still need to score runs to win the game."
Lauterbach threw 89 pitches, 63 for strikes and got ahead in the count with first-pitch strikes on 19 of the 23 batters she faced. The senior also got all the run support she would need in the first inning as the Lakers jumped out to a 3-0 lead. She helped her own cause by going 2-3 with a run and a sacrifice.
"Karlie Manton started for us and we booted the ball around a little bit in that first inning," said Zauhar. "No way was that her fault. She is an outstanding pitcher, but things just didn't go our way early."
The Lakers opened the game with three straight singles. Those three runners came home on two more singles. Prior Lake added another run in the third and three more runs in the sixth off reliever Nikki Anderson, who spelled Manton after 2 plus innings.
Prior Lakes' Ashley Flaschenriem finished 3-for-3, with two RBIs, three runs and a double.
Anderson struck out five and allowed three runs on five hits.
"We had a great year," said the Warrior coach. "We're very proud of all of our kids and the way they competed. These girls supported one another. We didn't have a problem all year. It was a great group of young adults. It was a fun year."
Brainerd 000 000 0 - 0 0 1
Burnsville 000 001 X - 1 3 0
Brainerd: Nikki Anderson and Della Gramer. Burnsville: Kelsey Anderson and Maggie Dunsmore.
WP: Kelsey Anderson. LP: Nikki Anderson.
Sac: Burn-Holly Hardzinski.
HP: Burn-Brooke Selisker, Maggie Lehnan
SB: Burn-Anna Sames
LOB: Brd 1, Burn 6
Prior Lake 301 003 0 - 7 13 0
Brainerd 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
Prior Lake: Brittany Lauterbach and Emily Gregory. Brainerd: Karlie Manton, Anderson (3) and Gramer.
WP: Lauterbach. LP: Manton.
2B: PL-Gregory, Ashley Flaschenriem.
SB: Brd-Hallsey Olson.
RBI: Flaschenriem 2, Taylor Workman 2, Gregory, Miranda Larson.
LOB: Brd 2, PR 7
DP: PR 1
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