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Scott Mieszala / Minot Daily News, Published June 06 2010

ND state softball: Johnson leads West Fargo to another softball championship

MINOT, N.D. – After striking out the first batter of the seventh inning of Saturday’s state championship game, West Fargo pitcher Kacie Johnson could hardly contain her excitement.

Johnson pumped her fist after the strikeout pitch, then pointed to a friend in the crowd after striking out the next batter. She would strike out the final batter of the game, powering West Fargo to a 5-2 victory over Grand Forks Red River and the North Dakota state girls softball championship.

“I think I give everything to Red River. They came out and played a hard game and played a very good defensive game,” West Fargo coach Pat Johnson said. “We came out and tried to overswing a little bit, and we started hitting the ball hard and we hit them right at them, but eventually they fell in and we just had to loosen up. We played a little tight for a while there, and once we loosened up, everything came together.”

Kacie Johnson followed up Friday’s no-hitter with a complete game, in which she struck out seven batters and allowed three hits, two runs and a walk.

The Packers ace also threw 64 strikes to just 25 balls, and at the plate she went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

She said she was so animated on the mound in the final inning because of her fifth-inning hiccup, during which she allowed two runs on a single to center field by Red River’s Chelsea Carlson.

“I had a lapse I think in the fifth inning and so it was exciting for me to get back in my stride again,” said Kacie Johnson, who in the state tournament pitched 18 innings and allowed only three hits and three earned runs while striking out 25 batters.

The two RBI hit by Carlson in the bottom of the fifth knotted the game at 2-2. In the top of the sixth, however, the Packers regained the lead with a clutch hit from a familiar hero.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Pat Johnson inserted Harle Andel to pinch hit. Andel came through with a two RBI double over Red River center fielder Catherine Dorsher’s head.

Andel also came through in a pinch-hitting situation in the state championship game last season, which was on Pat Johnson’s mind entering the game.

“It’s the same person we (pinch hit) last year to ignite a rally and it was a good opportunity,” Pat Johnson said. “When she does hit she can hit the ball hard and she had a nice line drive and sparked us again in the state tournament. She sparked us against North last year and again this year, so lightning hit twice.”

To that point Red River starting pitcher Rachel Koopman had matched her counterpart on the mound, and Koopman also notched a complete game. During her seven innings of work, she compiled four strikeouts and was the beneficiary of two inning-ending double plays.

The Roughriders made the Packers dig deep for their 13th consecutive state title, and head coach Mike Bisenius was named the North Dakota Coach of the Year.

“The girls never gave up a bit, I told the girls we had to play a perfect game, we came very close to it,” Bisenius said. “They did an incredible, so I can’t be any prouder of the girls.”

WF 011 002 1– 5 9 0

GFRR 000 020 0– 2 3 3

W–Johnson. L–Koopman.