MARSHALL - Second-year Fairmont mentor Terry Ehlert's Cardinals accomplished on Saturday what no other softball team in the program's 35-year history had been able to achieve - win three playoff games and reach the sectional's final four.
Micaela Gochanour produced two hits and a game-best four RBIs to power Fairmont to a 7-4 victory over the Marshall Tigers during Saturday's opening elimination-bracket game in Marshall.
Kristen Campe then supplied two hits and two RBIs to steer Fairmont to a 6-1 triumph over Redwood Valley during Saturday's second Section 3AA elimination game in Marshall.
Fairmont (10-10), which also tied the program's most wins for a single season, squares off against Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta (13-8) at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Marshall in yet another sectional elimination game. Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta advanced via a 6-0 elimination-game win over Worthington.
"It hasn't quite sunk in just yet," Ehlert said in reference to his Cardinals' two-game postseason sweep on Saturday.
Leadoff batter Courtney Guetter and Gochanour staked Fairmont right-hander Mikayla Krzywicki to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Marshall.
Guetter, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, singled before Gochanour swatted an offering from Tiger starting pitcher Callie Graff over the fence for a two-run home run. Gochanour finished the opening game with a game-leading four RBIs on the strength of a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
Krzywicki allowed four runs - two earned - on nine hits, struck out five and issued only one walk in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for Fairmont.
Graff gave up seven runs on nine hits, fanned three and walked five in seven innings to take the loss for Marshall.
Sadie Zahrbock went 2-for-4 with one RBI to top the Tigers, while teammate Brooke Louwagie went 2-for-3 and scored twice.
Gochanour and Campe each pounded out two of Fairmont's nine hits to help ignite a 6-1 victory over Redwood Valley in Game 2 on Saturday.
Campe went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Gochanour generated two hits in four at-bats. Courtney Whitmore doubled for Fairmont, while Allison Moeller, Mariah Thate, Tieryn Arens and Aly Eversman each delivered one hit and one RBI.
Taylor Schultze allowed one earned run on 10 hits, struck out two and did not issue a walk in seven innings inside the chalked circle to earn the complete-game victory for Fairmont.
Stephanie Jensen went 3-for-4 with one RBI for Redwood Valley, while teammates Ashley Bunting and Kayla Pohlen each chipped in two hits.
Redwood Valley starting pitcher Alyssa Lueck gave up six runs on nine hits, struck out one and did not issue a walk in six innings of work to take the loss.
FHS 220 003 0 - 7 9 2
MAR 000 300 1 - 4 9 0
Mikayla Krzywicki (WP) and Tieryn Arens. Callie Graff (LP) and Sadie Zahrbock.
RVY 100 000 0 - 1 10 4
FHS 114 000 x - 6 9 0
Alyssa Lueck (LP) and Ashley Bunting. Taylor Schultze (WP) and Tieryn Arens.