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Softball: Irish streaking into playoffs

With three conference wins in three days to close out the regular season, the Rosemount softball team met two of its biggest goals.

The Irish wanted to finish in the top half of the South Suburban Conference and earn a No. 4 seed or better in Section 3AAA. Victories over Eagan, Apple Valley and ninth-ranked Prior Lake bumped the Irish up to fourth in the final league standings with a 9-4 mark and earned them the No. 3 seed in the section tournament, which they play in Wednesday in Richfield.

“The girls have worked very hard and deserve all of their successes,” said coach Tiffany Rose, whose squad takes a 13-6 mark into its playoff opener against the winner of the 6-11 game between Eagan and Richfield. “At the beginning of every season we talk about how the season is just a warm up for the section tournament. The girls are playing very well as we head into the first game.”

The Irish closed out the regular season by completing a season sweep of a ranked Prior Lake team. They ripped eight hits and took advantage of five Laker errors in a 7-4 win Friday in Prior Lake.

The Lakers led 4-2 before the Irish rallied with five runs with two outs in the top of the seventh. The comeback featured an RBI single by Shannon Dawson, followed by hit-by-pitches that plated the tying and go-ahead runs. Nichole Johnson then broke the game open with a two-run single.

Hailey Martinez worked around five hits and six walks to pick up the pitching win.

A day earlier, Martinez struck out six over seven innings in a 7-2 win over Apple Valley at The Cove.

Anna Hinderaker and Nina Kayfes paced the offense, each clubbing two hits and driving in two runs. Karly Kirchgatter added a pair of singles and Johnson had a two-run double.

The Irish opened their winning streak by sneaking past Eagan 2-1 last Wednesday. Martinez pitched all seven innings and allowed five hits while striking out two.

Kirchgatter drove in the game’s first run with a single in the fourth. With the score 1-1 in the fifth, Sarah Jacobs came through with a single that scored what turned out to be the winning run.

Hinderaker and Nicole Hutchinson each supplied two of Rosemount’s nine hits.