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Forum staff reports, Published May 12 2012

Bison win fourth straight Summit softball title

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – North Dakota State became the first team to win four straight Summit League softball championships with an 8-0 shutout victory over Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne Saturday.

It didn’t come easy.

IPFW beat NDSU 5-0 in the first title game as Miranda Kramer held the Bison to just three hits.

“We were really ready to go (after losing Game 1),” NDSU head coach Darren Mueller said. “The way that game ended got us pumped up.”

Whitney Johnson pitched a two-hit shutout for the Bison in the second championship game.

“It was like having an ace in the hole,” Mueller said. “Whitney has been on the mound for us the last three times we clinched the Summit title. She did a great job”

Bison third baseman Brea Konz went 3-for-4 with an RBI in Game 2. She was also named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Four other Bison players were named to the all-tournament team including Johnson, catcher Jenina Ortega, second baseman Brandi Enriquez and pitcher Krista Menke.

NDSU is the first regular-season conference champion to go on to win the tournament since Southern Utah did it in 2006.

The Bison, 37-20 overall, now enter the NCAA softball tournament for the fourth straight season. The NCAA tournament field will be announced at 9 p.m. today on ESPNU.

“Everyone in the tournament is tough,” Mueller said.

“We have nothing to lose; the pressure is all on the top seeds and not North Dakota State. Our goal was to win the Summit League championship.”

IPFW ends its season with a 45-14 overall record.

NDSU 000 000 0– 0 3 1

IPFW 010 040 x– 5 9 1

Menke and Ortega. Kramer and Mintari. W–Kramer (16-4). L–Menke (24-11).

NDSU 120 005 – 8 14 0

IPFW 000 000 – 0 2 1

Johnson and Ortega. Kramer, Cronin (2), Flenniken (5) and Mintari. W–Johnson (13-9). L–Kramer (16-5).