See more of the story
Tri-City United’s Ellaina Novak belted three home runs — including two grand slams — and drove in 11 runs in a recent softball victory over Mayer Lutheran.
Tri-City United’s Ellaina Novak belted three home runs — including two grand slams — and drove in 11 runs in a recent softball victory over Mayer Lutheran.

Submitted photo

Ellaina Novak, Tri-City United softball, sr., 2021

ELLAINA NOVAK

Tri-City United, softball

They were unforgettable games that will remain clear in the memory long after the playing career is over.

After a slow start to the season and with the threat of rain looming, the junior pitcher was eager to get started when the Titans traveled to Mayer Lutheran last week for a double-header.

"We hade driven an hour to get there and I really wanted to play," Novak said.

In the first game, Novak singled in her first two at-bats. Then she launched home runs in three consecutive trips to the plate — two of them grand slams — and drove in 11 runs in a 30-13 victory.

"It's a great feeling when you feel the pop off the bat when you hit a home run," she said.

She wasn't thinking home run in any of her at-bats.

"All I'm thinking is 'hit ball,' " she said. "I'm just trying to make solid contact. If it goes over, it goes over."

She went 2-for-3, both singles, in the nightcap, a 15-5 victory. On the day, Novak went 7-for-8, with three home runs and 11 RBI. For the week, the Titans, who had lost their first six games, were 4-0, with Novak getting the victory in all four.

But it was her offensive explosion in the first game that will forever stand out. "I'm definitely going to remember that," she said. "Hitting three home runs in one game is pretty cool."

Alexa Mann, Eden Prairie softball, jr., 2020-21

ALEXA MANN

Eden Prairie, softball

The Eagles have won five of six with the junior outfielder leading the charge. Last week she hit three home runs, including a walk-off two-run shot in a 5-3 victory over Buffalo. Mann has five homers in her last six games.

Jake McCarthy, Bloomington Jefferson lax, sr., 2021

JAKE MCCARTHY

Bloomington Jefferson, lacrosse

The senior goalkeeper helped the Jaguars to two victories. He made 12 saves in an 11-5 win over No. 9 Lakeville South and then repeated the feat, stopping 12 more shots and holding No. 2 Edina to five goals in a 6-5 victory.

Karlie Miller, Prior Lake softball, sr. 2021 ORG XMIT: 5vn31BkAqxpMEjqmVLx4

KARLIE MILLER

Prior Lake, softball

The senior pitcher threw shutouts against Eastview (4-0) and Farmington (2-0). She also pitched 3⅔ innings in relief in a 2-1 loss to Centennial and struck out 34 batters for three games.

Madisen Myers, Rosemount lax, sr., 2021

MADISEN MYERS

Rosemount, lacrosse

In a sport where stopping half the shots faced is considered fine goalkeeping, the senior stopped 23 of 31 shots combined in two victories. She stood out as the Irish upended No. 7 Benilde-St. Margaret's 7-6, making 18 saves.

Will Rogers, Mounds View baseball, sr., 2021

WILL ROGERS

Mounds View, baseball

The senior Arizona State recruit went 8-for-12 in four games, with three home runs, a double, four RBI and a 1.500 slugging percentage. He also pitched an 8-inning complete game, outdueling Woodbury ace Sam Malec, 4-2.

Cat Smetana, Stillwater softball, jr., 2020-21

CAT SMETANA

Stillwater, softball

The junior catcher/1B homered twice as the Ponies defeated Mounds View 10-5. She homered again in a 13-0 romp over Woodbury and added a fourth as they defeated East Ridge 3-1.

JIM PAULSEN

Nominate an athlete? Send an e-mail with supporting information to preps@startribune.com. Include a photo and a link to video of athlete in action (if possible).