With spring sports games beginning in early April and wrapping in late May, there isn’t a lot of room on the calendar for sports such as softball.
However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot happening for the Eden Prairie softball team.
The Eagles wrapped their regular season on May 20 with a 1-0 win vs. Maple Grove under the lights at Miller Park. That wrapped up an eventful schedule that included ups, downs and a Lake Conference championship. EP now moves on to the Class 4A, Section 2 tournament against some of the state’s best.
In 2021, the Eagles rebounded nicely from the off 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. EP finished second in the Lake Conference and nearly made it consecutive state tournament trips before finishing second in the section tournament in 2021.
Heading into the season, there was plenty to like with the return of a senior-heavy group with players such as Alexa Mann and Piper Lange. Junior pitcher Kari Welter also was making a big move into the main pitching role.
The optimism showed for the Eagle squad as they got off to an 8-1 start this season. However, things took a bit of a turn as EP dropped four consecutive games.
Eventually, things turned around. The Eagles finished the regular season on a 6-1 tear and got big contributions from Mann and Lange. Just look at the April 27 game against Wayzata where Mann went 2-for-3 with a home run in the win while Lange was a single short of the cycle with a 3-for-3 performance.
That run propelled EP to its first Lake Conference championship since 2019.
Now, the Eagles set their sights on a tough section tournament field. They earned the No. 3 seed in the section behind top-seeded Chanhassen and No. 2 seed Shakopee. EP faced the Storm during the regular season and lost 3-0 on the road. The Eagles and Sabers did not meet during the regular season.
One thing going for EP: They are playing on their home turf. The entire Section 2AAAA tournament is set to take place at the four softball fields at Miller Park. The complex has held the section tournament for a number of years now.
Though the Eagles are the No. 3 seed, they are certainly not to be taken lightly. They won the section in 2019 and were the runner up in 2021.
All of the postseason action begins on Tuesday, May 24 when EP plays Chaska at 4:30 p.m. in the first round of the section tournament. It is double elimination and will take place through June 2. This marks the second time the Eagles and Hawks have met this season. EP won its season opener against Chaska, 12-4.