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Eric Peterson, Published May 30 2009

ND state softball: West Fargo tries to keep championship streak going today

West Fargo is one win away from an even dozen.

The Packers scored seven runs in the third inning en route to a 10-0 victory in six innings against Grand Forks Red River on Friday in the North Dakota state girls softball semifinals at Elmwood Park.

West Fargo (21-5) has a chance to win its 12th consecutive state title against Fargo North (18-7) at approximately 4 p.m. today.

Softball was a club sport when the Packers won their previous 11 state championships.

This is the first year the sport is being sanctioned by the North Dakota High School Activities Association.

“It means a little more,” West Fargo first baseman Danielle Nelson said of having a chance to win a sanctioned state crown.

“Win or lose, that’s the kind of tradition we want,” said West Fargo coach Pat Johnson, whose teams have played in 13 consecutive title games.

North beat Fargo Shanley 5-0 in the other semifinal to reach the championship.

“It’s huge,” North senior pitcher Carly Kaspari said of playing West Fargo in the title game. “It’s my senior year. I’ve played on this team for four years. It would mean the world to me. We’re ready.”

West Fargo had five hits in its seven-run third inning against the Roughriders. The Packers also took advantage of four Red River errors in that inning.

“Just one inning we fell apart,” Red River coach Mike Bisenius said. “We played with them for five of six innings. … To have a chance against them, we had to play a perfect game.”

Nelson finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and scored a run. The sophomore had an RBI double in the first inning and added an RBI single in the third inning.

“I’m just going up there trying to hit it and not think about anything else,” Nelson said. “We just try to come out focused and put the ball in play right away.”

Red River 000 000 – 0 3 7

West Fargo 107 101 –10 10 0

Koopman and Carlson. Johnson, Daul (5) and Andel. W—Johnson. L—Koopman.

Fargo North 5, Fargo Shanley 0

Kaspari pitched a one-hitter and struck out 10 batters to lead the Spartans to victory. She struck out the last three batters she faced.

“We were changing speeds a lot and moving the ball around,” said Kaspari, who credited her catcher Kenzie Lagodinski for calling a solid game. “Shanley is a good hitting team. You have to keep it off the plate for sure.”

North scored single runs in the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.

The Spartans cracked three triples in the first two innings. Freshman Mara Teschendorf, who went 3-for-4, led off the game with a triple and scored on an Alyssa Boetel groundout. That would prove to be all the offense North needed.

“It’s huge to get the bats going right away,” Kaspari said. “The momentum was definitely in our favor.”

Senior Ashley Peterson had Shanley’s lone hit, a single to center field in the second inning.

“We just couldn’t hit the ball,” Shanley coach Ryan Langlie said. “We had a couple hard shots, but those were right at people.”

North 110 101 1—5 11 1

Shanley 000 000 0—0 1 0

Kaspari and Lagodinski. Conant and Vangerud. W—Kaspari. L—Conant.

Minot 9, Fargo South 1

Mackenzie Nagel allowed three hits over seven innings to lead Minot to victory in the consolation semifinals.

Nagel also went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and scored a run.

South sophomore Erika Binde was 1-for-2 and scored a run.

South 000 000 1–1 3 7

Minot 002 322 x–9 6 3

Kjos and Dukart. Nagel and Fonder. W—Nagel. L—Fonder.

Minot Ryan 10, Devils Lake 0 (6 innings)

Beth Jundt and Liva Rovig each had two hits and scored two runs to lead the Lions to victory in the consolation semifinals.

Devils Lake 000 000 – 0 2 4

Ryan 210 151 –10 8 1

Olson and Brustad. Backes and Abel. W—Backes. L—Olson.


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

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