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Pat Bowlin and Bob Mertz will be hanging out together for a while.

Bowlin's Winona Cotter softball team lost twice in the Class 2A Section 1 tournament Thursday at St. Charles City Park, sending Bowlin into the offseason tied with former New Ulm Cathedral coach Mertz for the state record in career coaching victories at 802.

La Crescent-Hokah defeated Cotter 2-1 Thursday evening after St. Charles drove Cotter into the elimination bracket Thursday afternoon, defeating the Ramblers 6-2 in a winners-bracket semifinal. Cotter ended the season 16-5. The tournament resumes Tuesday for La Crescent-Hokah (17-6) and St. Charles (21-2).

Bowlin tied Mertz, who retired in 2018, when the Ramblers defeated Caledonia 4-2 Tuesday.

Bowlin is also Cotter's girls basketball coach and has 674 career victories in that sport, sixth most in state history. He's a Minnesota Hall of Famer in the softball and basketball coaches associations.

Under Bowlin, Cotter has reached the softball state tournament 12 times, including eight times in a row starting in 2000, tied for the state record. His teams won Class 2A championships in 2003 and 2006.

A 1978 graduate of St. Paul Harding, Bowlin, 63, began coaching at St. Bernard's in 1983 before moving to Cotter in 1991. He spent two decades as Cotter's activities director and has been a Winona Area Catholic Schools elementary school principal since 2010.