The Sub-Section 5A-West champion Jaguars fastpitch team (14-5) will open the Section 5A tournament on Tuesday at 5:00 at Whitney Park in St.Cloud. They will face the Sub-Section 5A-East champions, the Barnum Bombers, in a winner's bracket final game. The winner of that game gets a free pass to the section championship series, which will be held on Thursday night at the same location.
Barnum is 17-4 overall. They defeated last year's sub-section champion, Ogilvie, by a 6-3 score in the semi-finals. They then beat East Central 6-1 in the championship. The Bombers were the Polar League champion, going 11-0 in the loop. They are a very solid team, and I would rate them as tough if not tougher than the Ogilvie Lions were last season. (Ogilvie won over our Jaguars in last year's Section 5A loser's bracket final game by an 11-1 score in shortened innings.)Interestingly, Barnum's fastpitch team is built almost the exact opposite of the Jaguars.
They start a senior pitcher and senior catcher, and the rest is all underclassmen, with a freshmen holding down their third base spot, sophomores at shortstop and second base, and a junior at first base. Their sophomore shortstop, Katrina Newman, also pitches.
Their senior starting catcher, Megan Myhre, went 2-for-3 with a triple, a home run, two runs scored and six RBIs in their playoff-opening win over Cromwell, a 13-0 whitewash. From what I've read, it appears their team hinges on her level of play, and she's an outstanding athlete.
On paper, B-B-E & Barnum are ranked virtually the same in Class A, around the 20th best when factoring their strength of schedules.
Barnum was tagged with their first loss by Albrook/Cotton 3-1 on April 18. The loss game one day after the Bombers hosted a double-header against Floodwood & Carlton, in which they went 2-0. Albrook/Cotton went 12-1 in the regular season and 1-1 in the Section 7A playoffs.
Barnum lost 4-0 to Mountain Iron-Buhl (4-12) on April 30, in the first of two games that day. In the 2nd game that day, they lost 7-1 to Hermantown, who is a very good Class AA team that is currently 17-3 and in the Section 7AA Final Four. Hermantown was 23-3 last season, and lost in the Section 7AAA championship series to Big Lake.
Barnum lost to Mora by a 3-0 score on May 7th in a home non-conference game. Mora, the 2-seed in Sub-Section 6AA-18, lost its playoff opener in a big upset to 7th-seeded Pierz by a 3-2 score. That's the closest item I have as a "common opponent" for Barnum compared to the Jaguars.
So while the Bombers have suffered two shutout losses this season, one was to one of the top fastpitch programs in northeast Minnesota, Hermantown. The other one that same day, was peculiar, a loss to a bad Mountain Iron-Buhl team.
The Jaguars have not been shutout since the first game of last season, a 7-0 loss to Maple Lake.
Barnum won 1-0 on May 6th over Esko, who placed 5th in 2007 in the Class AA tournament. Esko went 10-8 this season.
The Polar League is a 10-team league that has 3 Class AA teams, and 7 Class A teams.
I except a very close, well-played game between the Jaguars and Barnum. The Jaguars have won 7 games in a row, while Barnum has won nine in a row.
The East Central Eagles (9-8) will play against Maple Lake (19-2) in an elimination game at the same time & location as the B-B-E/Barnum game.
------------------------------------------------------------While googling Barnum, I ran across this very interesting web-blog from a former Floodwood fastpitch player.
FYI - Randy Myhre is the Barnum fastpitch coach. The player is writing about the 2007 fastpitch season. Take a look:
"Barnum’s softball team was much better in the years past. In our area there are two teams to beat in girl’s sports that will give you bragging rights. They would be Esko and Barnum. They are good at everything. The same for the boys, but for football there would have to be Cromwell in there somewhere."
"Randy Myhre. There are a few words that come to my mind such as: Talented coach, basketball, softball, talented daughters, and Barnum. Yes, he is the softball and girls basketball coach at Barnum High School. He led those girls to many victories in their careers as student athletes. He is a great coach who pushes his players to play at their peak potentials, but when softball season rolls around he acts like his team is too good to play Floodwood. Three years ago when I was a freshman, they twenty runned us in the 5th inning. Two years ago when I was a sophomore they only beat us 0-3. We pulled it out last year though, we beat them 4-3. Myhre was so angry with his team. He didn’t even want to shake our hands he was so mad."
Classy indeed! I can't wait for the game.From the Barnum High School website:
Friday, May 23
Good luck to the seniors!
1. Congratulations to the Lady Bomber Softball Team. Last night, they defeated East Central to capture the Sub-Section 5A Championship. Our Lady Bombers have now advanced to the Regional 5A Championship round and will play Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in St. Cloud. Congratulations to all team members on a job well done.
There will be open batting practice for all high school softball players on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at RJM Park. This open batting practice is open to all and will be conducted by volunteer parents.
There will be a scheduled practice for all varsity softball players on Monday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at RJM Park.
Congratulations to Megan Myhre, Katrina Newman and Hannah Wekseth for being named to the Polar League All Conference Team for 2008. Way to Go Lady Bombers!!!
What a great concept...open batting practice guided by parent volunteers for their fastpitch players, during the heat of their playoff run.This Jaguars sports playoff update brought to you by: