The Pierz tournament was the first tournament of the season and the Tigers were 1-2 beating Sartell and losing to Pierz and Little Falls in close games. Bri Marty, Kaylin Steen, Ryla Koehler and Ellen Reed led the Tigers all had three hits. Nora Boyle, Bri Marty and Lauren Hottovy led the defensive with Nora striking out 12 in seven innings and great plays by Hottovy and Marty.
The following weekend Morris went to New Ulm and after a delayed start because of rain the Tigers took charge. They beat Albert Lea first 11-0 with the first 11 girls reaching base. Boyle pitched the shutout. The Tigers then took on Watertown-Mayer who was in the state AA softball tournament a few weeks earlier. The Tigers came to play winning 9-4. Marty and Amaya Raths led Morris at the plate and Boyle got the win on the mound. In the final game of the day the Tigers beat New Ulm 7-2 to finish the Tournament undefeated. Hottovy, Steen, Boyle and Makenzie Konz led the hit parade with two hits apiece. Boyle got the win again and was 3-0 on the mound with 17K’s in 12 innings.
The Tigers kept rolling the next weekend, winning the Bemidji tournament. The Tigers did manage to beat New Germany 12-0. Haley Kill got the win on the mound. On Sunday the 16-team bracket started and Morris beat Aitkin 4-0. Boyle got the win, allowing two hits and striking out five in five innings. Morris could muster only three hits in the win, but they were all in the fourth inning and that’s where the four runs were scored. In the quarters Morris beat the Duluth Blizzard 5-1. Brynn Nohl led the Tigers, going 2-2, in all the Tigers had eight hits. In the semifinals Morris beat the MN Northern Stars 2-0 with Boyle striking out nine in six innings. In the championship game the Tigers got some revenge from a couple weeks earlier and beat Pierz 3-2. The Tigers also won the tournament last year, so they are back-to-back Bemidji Champions.
After a week off to celebrate the Fourth of July, the girls were at it again with a tournament in Fargo on July 7-9. The Tigers battled all night but eventually lost 4-3 on a home run in the last inning against Diamond Academy in the first game. Having to win the next game Saturday morning to advance to the gold bracket they did exactly that defeating Watertown, SD 7-4. The 16-team gold bracket started Saturday night and the Tigers had their most entertaining game of the summer. Morris took on Dickinson, ND who won the State High School championship this spring. The game went into extra innings and in the ninth Dickinson pushed a run across to take the lead 3-2. With Marty running on the play Bri Marty hit one down the line to right field and it tipped off the glove allowing the tying and winning runs to score. Nora Boyle was fabulous pitching, throwing all nine innings and allowing only seven hits. Sunday morning brought the quarterfinals and the Westman Magic from the Brandon Manitoba area. This also brought the end of our tournament with a 10-2 loss. The Tigers finished tied for fifth out of 28 teams.
July 15-16 brought the inaugural Showdown on the Prairie at our brand-new complex. In pool play Saturday morning the Tigers beat another team that was in the class A semifinals in 2023 the BGMR Gators. After two scoreless innings Morris jumped on them and won 9-0. Morris mustered only 3 hits but walked 6 times. Later in the day brought another club team, the Northern Blast 18U. In a very good game, the Tigers won 6-3. Kenzie Konz led the hit parade with two hits and as a team the Tigers had seven. Sunday bracket play brought on our rival to the west, the Border West Bucs. The Bucs came out on top in this, winning 5-3. Bats were quiet as the Tigers got two hits. Morris came back to beat the Northern Blast 16U 7-4 with Kill getting the win on the mound. Kenzie Konz and Bri Marty both had two hits as Morris pounded out 11 hits. In the third place game, the Tigers won a rematch with BGMR 8-5. Boyle got the win and Kill and Marty led with two hits.
Finally, the Tigers headed to Rochester for the High School State Summer Tournament Tier 5 July 22-23. This was a 16-team double elimination tournament. In game one the Tigers jumped on St. Peter and beat them 13-3. Boyle and Kill split pitching duties each going three innings. The bats were hot, collecting nine hits with Swanson and Marty with two each. The second game brought the heat and the Luverne Cardinals, a strong section 3AA opponent. Morris scored twice in the first inning scoring on two hits and three Cardinal errors and that’s all the scoring there was in the game. Boyle was strong, throwing all seven, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out 10. Sunday morning brought Winona Velocity, and the Tigers came out smoking with five first inning runs on four hits and two walks. The Tigers brought the lumber with 12 hits. Marty, Swanson and Hottovy had two each. In the winners bracket final Morris played the Hawley Nuggets. Hawley would win 3-1 as they have a solid pitcher that kept the Tigers off balance with a riseball, changeup and fastball. Both teams would have four hits, but Hawley had more base runners and more timely hitting. This would bring on the Border West Bucs again for the second straight weekend. This time it was a different story as the Tigers would win 7-3. This might have been the Tigers best defensive game of the season with no errors and many highlight reel plays especially Bri Marty at shortstop and a diving catch by Haley Kill. The Tigers would score five in the second inning. Hottovy led with two hits and six others each had one. This would advance the Tigers to the championship game (the fourth of the day) and Morris would have to win twice. The Tigers out-hit Hawley 6-5 but unfortunately the scoreboard read 5-1, Hawley. Hottovy had a deep triple to left but the Tigers couldn’t get the big hits when needed. Hawley scored three in the first on only two hits as our pitchers were getting tired and two more in the second on only two hits. It was a strong showing at the state tournament and we were proud of our runner-up status.
“As a summary to our season, I would like to thank Jeff Boyle for being a coach with me and all the time he put into these girls. I would also like to thank Matt Konz and Matt Steen for all the work they do before the games with batting practice and everything else. I would like to thank the parents, what they do in getting these kids to these tournaments (six out of the last seven weekends) is incredible and doesn’t go unnoticed. It allows us to have our own little club in Morris, which a lot of communities don’t have. Finally, the biggest thank you goes to the players. It is such a pleasure coaching such a great group of girls that have so much talent and such a good attitude. They have made themselves into really good softball players and have a bright future. We are certainly going to miss Bri Marty, Cate Kehoe and Piper Swanson, our seniors, but appreciate all they have given us. Go Get Em next spring Girls!” coach Todd Hottovy.