It's not often that there are this many playoff games in a single day, and it's even better when it comes with a lot of success.
The only team that lost today was also the first team to win today. After going 2-1 last week with a win against Big Lake in the section opener, a loss to Rocori and a walk-off win against Willmar in their first loser's bracket game, the Magic took to the field against Zimmerman with the hopes of advancing to the loser's bracket championship game against the loser of the Rocori/Becker semifinal game.
Monticello got started early. After tossing a scoreless top of the first, Caitlin Hinz came to bat with a runner on and hit her in for a 1-0 lead. Having been the scoring runner in the first, Alayna Manning crossed the plate again in the third inning when a Chloe Hinz double made it to the wall. After a stolen base, Caitlin drove in her second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to give the Magic a 3-0 lead.
That was all they wrote, truthfully. Hinz had a masterful outing on the mound against the Thunder, only having real trouble in one inning when a couple of walks made it to second and third, but she sent down the next two hitters on strikeouts to end the threat.
The 3-0 win, Monticello's second win of the year against the Thunder, advanced Monticello to the loser's bracket championship, where they would face Rocori again for the third time in two weeks.
Rocori, fresh off a close loss to Becker in their first game of the day, seemed to be up on Hinz's pitching after last Thursday and pounded on the Magic junior. When all was said and done, nine Rocori players crossed home plate and none did the same for the Magic, giving Rocori its second shutout win against the Magic in three games.
The loss ends the season of the Magic softball team. It was a great rebound season after last year's three-win performance. More on their season will be in next week's paper.
The second team to get underway and the second team to complete their win today, but only by a matter of about 15 minutes. Playing Rocori for the third time this month, Monticello knew exactly what it would be getting from the Spartans and played their hearts out in the final game they'll play at home this year.
They scored 11 times in the first half, including three times in the final minute and a half, to take a big lead into halftime. They scored seven more times in the second half to finish off their biggest win of the year against the Spartans, 18-6.
Monticello had two players reach seven points in the game, with Morgynn Spears scoring five goals and adding two assists and Madison Katzenberger scoring three goals and four assists. Emma Cordell had five points [one goal, four assists], Halle Dahlheimer had four goals, and Grace Kuta had a goal and three assists.
UP NEXT: The Magic will try and recreate some of last year's magic and pull an upset against a higher-ranked team tomorrow when they head to Elk River to take on the Elks. Elk River/Zimmerman is 10-4 this year and advanced to the second round with a 22-2 dismantling of Moorhead, the No. 13 seed.
The third Magic team today to win their game [by default because the boys lacrosse game started at 7], the Magic started their section playoff run with a 10-0 blistering of Becker.
The Magic put up a couple of early runs but got their offense going in the fourth and fifth when they scored four runs apiece to pull away from the Bulldogs.
Alex Otto and Thomas Van Culin combined for a five-inning no-hitter.
UP NEXT: Monticello will hope to live up to their seed as they take on fifth-seeded Sartell, who made the second round of the winner's bracket with a win against Sauk Rapids-Rice this afternoon. That game is on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
If the first game between the Magic and St. Cloud Tigers this season wasn't enough to let fans know that tonight's game would be close, the first quarter was certainly enough.
The only first quarter goal went in favor of the Magic, with Jared Pearson scoring with just 20.1 seconds left in the quarter to give Monticello a 1-0 lead.
The second quarter was also quiet, scoring-wise, as the Magic scored the only goal in that period too, this one coming from Maverick Wools with 5:31 left before halftime on a sharp-angle shot that somehow found its way through St. Cloud's goalie.
It took just 27 seconds in the second half for the Tigers to get on the board, as Monticello was out of position on a transition play and a Tigers attacker finally made the Magic defense pay.
Penalties to both teams midway through the period loosened things up a little, and it was the Magic this time who took advantage of a less-than-ready defense, with Carter Hanson camping out in front of the net, being found with a pass, and him quickly slipping his shot past the St. Cloud goalie.
Monticello scored again less than a minute later, as Pearson made a shot while being cross-checked in the back count with 3:01 left to the quarter break.
4-1 was the score into the fourth quarter, and it was St. Cloud who broke the fourth quarter scoring lock with 8:27 to go in regulation. That would be all Monticello's defense would give up. Monti's offense controlled the ball, got another goal from Pearson with exactly eight minutes left in regulation, and worked the clock against a younger Tigers team.
Monticello got its revenge from last year's thriller, beating the Tigers 5-2 in what became a very chippy second half that saw a lot of flags thrown.
UP NEXT: The Magic will have to find a way to beat one of the best teams in the state, as they take on STMA on Thursday at 4 p.m. The Knights beat the Magic 15-2 in Monticello a little over two weeks ago.