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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 26 2012

West Fargo pitcher leads Packers to title in first EDC softball tournament

WEST FARGO – That popping sound heard in the city of West Fargo the last few days was not a fireworks show. It was the sound of Brittany Rheault’s pitches hitting her catcher’s glove.

It happened often in the Eastern Dakota Conference softball tournament at Elmwood Park. The right-hander finished with 27 strikeouts in the three-day tournament, including eight in five innings against Fargo North on Saturday. It was more than enough to propel the Packers to a 9-0 victory in the first-ever EDC tournament title game.

“She was on this weekend,” said West Fargo catcher Sydney Greenlund. “It was one of her best weekends this season.”

Here’s the sobering news for the second and third annual tournaments: Rheault is just a sophomore.

No other team had a pitcher who could touch her miles-per-hour clocking on a radar gun, which consistently approached 60.

“I had to get a new glove this year,” Greenlund said, then making reference to Packer relief pitcher Jolene Woodbury. “They wore my old one out. Really.”

The Packers staked Rheault to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings. Katie Woodbury’s single plated one run with the aid of a Spartan error. Lexi Lennon’s sacrifice fly quickly made it 2-0.

Harle Andel’s run-scoring double and a run-scoring groundout added two more runs in the second. Michaela Liebl’s two-run single in the fourth made it 7-0.

Andel wasn’t through – her two-run home run into a decent wind was the final stamp of approval for the Packers. The big prize, of course, is next week’s state tournament.

“This was another atmosphere to get ready for,” Packer head coach Pat Johnson said of the tournament. “There were bigger crowds. It’s a good way to get ready for the state tournament.”

Both the Packers and Spartans had already qualified for state, which also will be held at Elmwood Park. Devils Lake and Grand Forks Red River earned the other two berths on Saturday.

The Firebirds held off Valley City 3-2 and Red River pounded 14 hits to defeat Fargo Shanley 8-4.

North 000 000 0 – 0 3 1

WF 220 320 x – 9 11 0

Novacek, Fischer (4) and Mellick, Teschendorf (3). Bri. Rheault, J. Woodbury (6) and Greenlund. W—Bri. Rheault. L—Novacek. HR—WF, Andel.

State qualifying

Devils Lake 3, Valley City 2

DL 110 010 0 – 3 6 2

VC 000 101 0 – 2 3 1

Hornstein and Yoder. Fogarty, Denholm (6) and Diegel. W—Hornstein. L—Fogarty.

Grand Forks Red River 8, Fargo Shanley 4

RR 031 013 0 – 8 14 1

FS 100 300 0 – 4 6 3

Lundby and Dahl. Schmidt, Eide (3) and Schwan. W—Lundby. L—Schmidt.

All-EDC team

Fargo Davies: Kendra Pahl.

Grand Forks Central: Michaela Johnson.

Devils Lake: Autumn Wang.

Valley City: Deirra Diegel.

GF Red River: Brenna Nakonechny, Emily Lundby.

Fargo Shanley: Dayton Schwan, Madison Little, Marissa Schons.

Fargo North: Mara Teschnedorf, Courtney Johnson, Morgan Shelton, Jordan Novacek.

West Fargo: Sydney Greenlund, Brook Rheault, Lexi Lennon, Jolene Woodbury, Brittany Rheault.

Coach of the Year: Aaron Kliniske, North.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia