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Glenn Pursley, Published June 02 2012

Johnson's pitching helps Falcons take Class B softball title over Central Cass

WEST FARGO – The only thing better than winning a state tournament is making history while doing it.

Enderlin-Maple Valley starting pitcher Kaylee Johnson pitched a two-hitter to help the Falcons to a 2-1 victory over Central Cass in the North Dakota Class B state softball championship game on Saturday to claim the inaugural title.

“I don’t think it’s set in yet,” said Falcons head coach Neva Hamre. “We haven’t talked about this being the state championship game. We’ve talked about getting 21 outs. That’s all we need.”

Senior Krista Thielges hit an RBI single that drove in second baseman Abbie Tinjum to give the Falcons an early 1-0 lead.

“We knew we had to play our game,” said Tinjum. “We had to keep Kaylee up pitching and our bats had to be going.”

Tinjum led the team on offense, batting 2-for-3, with two stolen bases and also scoring both of the Falcons’ runs, while Megan Johnson added two doubles. Right fielder Taylor Bennewies added a base hit to give the Falcons six total hits in the game.

Johnson pitched a solid first part of the game, giving up one hit and striking out two over four innings.

A fielder’s choice play and three walks by Johnson loaded the bases for Central Cass. Johnson then walked the Squirrels’ designated player Sierra Amundson to send shortstop Mercedes Sweep across the plate to tie the game up at 1-1 in the fifth inning.

After a short player meeting on the mound, Johnson found her groove and retired the next six batters, striking out two more to get out of the inning. Johnson ended the game with four strikeouts.

A missed ball by the Squirrels first baseman Anna Morris allowed Tinjum to round third and score on the error to give the Falcons the win. The Squirrels’ Bethany Voss and Kennedy Bresnahan recorded one hit each.

“I was definitely nervous,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to disappoint my team. It felt great knowing that my team is going to support me and back me up in the field even. That’s a lot of help.”

“We just told Kaylee that we get to bat last,” Morgan Johnson said. “No matter how many runs we are down we can always come back. We told her to keep her head up.”

“She did an amazing job,” coach Hamre said. “Sometime we forget she is only a sophomore but being able to finish so strong and build herself back up, it’s amazing. I’m really proud of her.”

CC 000 010 0– 1 2 4

E-MV 100 010 x– 2 6 2

Titus and Tronson. K. Johnson and M. Johnson. W–K. Johnson. L–Albernathy.

Forum reporter Glenn Pursley can be reached at (701) 241-5549