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Eric Peterson, Published May 29 2009

ND state softball: Fargo Shanley gets past Devils Lake

Fargo Shanley coach Ryan Langlie wasn’t surprised when the bottom third of his lineup delivered Thursday at West Fargo’s Elmwood Park.

The Deacons No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters sparked a three-run sixth inning that vaulted Shanley to a 6-4 victory against Devils Lake in the first round of the North Dakota state girls softball tournament.

“We’ve had a couple of times this year where the bottom of the lineup has had to get things going and they’ve come through,” Langlie said.

Shanley (19-4) plays Fargo North (17-7) at approximately 7 tonight in the state semifinals.

Deacons No. 9 hitter Blair Smart played a key role in the decisive sixth-inning rally. She cracked an RBI single to right field and later scored. Smart finished 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

“I was a little uneasy, but with the cheering from my teammates it kind of helped me focus back into the game a little bit more,” Smart said.

Devils Lake grabbed a 4-3 lead after scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Firebirds took advantage of three Shanley errors in the fifth.

The Deacons had no runners on base and two outs before they rallied in the top of the sixth inning.

No. 7 hitter Ashley Peterson walked and No. 8 hitter Madison Underwood (who was a pinch hitter) reached on an infield single. Smart then cracked an RBI single to right field that scored Peterson. After Underwood scored on a wild pitch, Haley Vangerud drove in Smart from third base with an infield single. That gave the Deacons a 6-4 lead.

“It was gut check time for the girls,” Langlie said. “They really came through.”

Shanley 002 013 0—6 9 3

Devils Lake 001 030 0—4 5 2

Peterson, Conant (6) and Vangerud. Olson and Brustad. W—Peterson. L—Olson. S—Conant.

Fargo North 4, Minot Ryan 1

Tana Teschendorf ripped a two-run single to right field that highlighted a four-run sixth inning for the Spartans.

Ryan starter Katie Backes limited North to two hits through the first five innings. She retired the first 10 batters she faced.

“Their pitcher was throwing really well. Both pitchers were,” North coach Kevin Hanson said. “We just kept battling.”

Mara Teschendorf started North’s rally in the sixth, drawing a one-out walk. Alyssa Boetel followed with a single to center field. Jordan Brenneman staked North to a 1-0 lead with an RBI single that scored Mara Teschendorf. Tana Teschendorf followed that with a single that scored Boetel and Brenneman. Tana Teschendorf later scored on a wild pitch.

North starter Carly Kaspari allowed one run on five hits, while striking out five and walking none. The Spartans were solid in the field, committing no errors.

“Defense has been our strength,” Hanson said. “You just hope you don’t make any mistakes.”

North 000 004 0—4 6 0

Ryan 000 001 0—1 5 1

Kaspari and Lagodinski. Backes and Abel. W—Kaspari. L—Backes.

Grand Forks Red River 2, Fargo South 0

Allison Sturman cracked a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning to lift the Roughriders to victory.

Red River became the first team to win a North Dakota High School Activities Association state softball tournament game.

“Our defense was just phenomenal,” Red River coach Mike Bisenius said.

Both teams had innings in which they loaded the bases with no outs and were unable to score.

South second baseman Erika Binde led off the seventh inning with an infield single, and later stole second base. Hannah Stevens followed with a sharp line drive down the third-base line. However, Red River third baseman Brenna Nakonechny snagged the liner and then doubled Binde off second base. That squelched a potential South rally.

“We just couldn’t score,” South coach Bruce Scheie said.

South 000 000 0—0 4 2

Red River 000 020 x—2 4 2

Pahl and Dukart. Koopman and Carlson. W—Koopman. L—Pahl.

West Fargo 8, Minot 0

Danielle Nelson ripped a two-run triple that keyed a three-run first inning and sparked the Packers to victory in the quarterfinals.

“That was our intentions,” said West Fargo coach Pat Johnson, whose team improved to 20-5. “We wanted to hit the ball hard on the ground and hit line and send a message that we were here ready to play and we weren’t just kind of cruising through things.”

Nelson finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. She added an RBI single in West Fargo’s four-run sixth inning.

Packers starting pitcher Kacie Johnson pitched six strong innings to earn the victory. She struck out six, walked one and her defense committed no errors.

“Defense wins the games,” Pat Johnson said. “Offense we need to score a few runs and it keeps everything flowing, but defense is where you win. … I think we played pretty well defensively.”

Minot 000 000 0—0 5 1

West Fargo 300 014 x—8 12 0

Nagel and Fonder. Johnson, Rheault (6) and Klug. W—Johnson. L—Nagel.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com