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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 25 2012

West Fargo, Fargo North to meet in East Region softball final

WEST FARGO – The first-ever Eastern Dakota Conference softball tournament championship will come down to two familiar foes. West Fargo will face Fargo North in another step of progress for the sport in North Dakota.

West Fargo head coach Pat Johnson said it puts more meaning into games late in the year. North posed for a team photo after beating Fargo Shanley 8-6 that can probably be used in the state tournament program.

That’s where the Spartans are headed after winning their semifinal game at Elmwood Park.

“This team did not have a lot of expectations,” said North head coach Aaron Kliniske. “They play hard.”

Earlier, West Fargo advanced with some punch in beating Valley City

10-0. With the bases loaded, Harle Andel ended it with one swing of the bat. A walk-off home run.

At least technically a walk off. The Packers were leading 6-0 and Andel’s first home run of the season ended their game by the 10-run rule in the fifth inning.

A walk off nonetheless.

“I don’t think our head was in the game all the way at the beginning,” Andel said. “As the game progressed, we figured it out.”

Andel finished with six runs batted in, a performance equaled by sophomore pitcher Brittany Rheault. She struck out 12 Valley City batters and gave up just one hit, a solid single to right by Allison Baasch in the fourth inning.

“She knows how to pitch and where to pitch,” Andel said.

Until the seven-run fifth inning, the Hi-Liners hung tough thanks to a pair of double plays and the pitching of Valley City’s Keely Fogarty.

“We needed to be more patient,” Johnson said. “(Fogarty) will work it in and out and we had to take what she gave us.”

North and Shanley were locked in a tight dual until the Spartans broke it up with a four-run fifth inning. Morgan Shelton provided the big blast with an RBI single that scored two for a 6-2 lead. Anna Mellick’s run-scoring single and a wild pitch that scored another made it 8-2.

Shanley responded with four runs in the top of the sixth taking advantage of one hit and a pair of Spartans errors.

North pitcher Sally Fischer, seeing her first action of the season after recovering from a knee injury, got the Deacons 1-2-3 in the seventh.

“That was impressive,” Kliniske said.

Valley City 000 00 – 0 1 1

West Fargo 030 07 – 10 11 2

VC: Fogarty and Diegel. WF: Rheault and Greenlund. W–Rheault. L–Fogarty. HR–WF, Andel (1).

Shanley 020 004 0– 6 6 3

North 112 040 x– 8 11 3

S: Eide, Schmidt (5) and Schwan. N: Novacek, Fischer (7) and Teschendorf. W–Novacek. L–Eide.

Consolation games

GF Central 000 200 0– 2 6 1

Devils Lake 030 100 x– 4 8 1

GFC: Johnson and Black. DL: Hornstein and Yoder. W–Hornstein L–Yoder.

GF Red River 024 052 – 13 12 4

Fargo Davies 000 210 – 3 4 2

GFRR: Lundby and Dahl. FD: Pahl and Malmanger. W–Lundby. L–Pahl.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia