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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 24 2013

Packers shut out Firebirds in softball to earn state tourney berth

FARGO – With West Fargo being its usual stingy defensive self, the one hope for Devils Lake in the East Region softball tournament Friday night was to keep it close. The Packers’ Michaela Liebl had something to say about that.

She did the talking with her bat.

The junior had a key two-run single in the third inning, and West Fargo went on to a 10-0 win in the semifinals and a berth in the state tournament. Valley City grabbed the other state tourney berth at Anderson softball complex with a 10-3 semifinal win over Fargo Davies.

Leibl’s hit made it 3-0, and that was more than enough for winning pitcher Brittany Rheault and her 13 strikeouts.

“I think everybody’s hits were pretty big,” Leibl said. “We were very confident at that point because (Rheault) takes control of a game.”

The Packers broke it open, and ended the game via the 10-run rule, with a seven-run sixth inning. Leibl and Lexi Lennon each had two-run doubles, giving Leibl four RBIs on the day.

“When we get going, everybody hits,” Leibl said.

Valley City got going with two runs in the third inning to overcome a 2-0 deficit and grabbed control the next inning on a two-run home run by Jessica Denholm.

Like the Packers, the Hi-Liners put it away late with a four-run fifth to make it 8-2.

Davies, the seventh seed that upset No. 2 seed Fargo North in the opening round, can still gain a state berth, but will have to beat Fargo Shanley in a state-qualifying game at 1 p.m.

Shanley and North moved on in loser-out play. Shanley got a home run from Marissa Schons in the first inning and put the Knights away with an eight-run second inning.

The Spartans erased an 8-6 deficit in the sixth inning with a seven-run outburst ignited by a home run by junior Keely Spiess.

North plays Devils Lake at 11 a.m. to advance to state.

West Fargo 10, Devils Lake 0

DL 000 000 – 0 2 1

WF 030 007 –10 15 0

Hornstein and Yoder. Rheault and Liebl. W–Rheault. L–Hornstein.

Valley City 10, Fargo Davies 3

FD 200 001 0– 3 3 3

VC 002 242 x–10 10 0

Binde and Malmanger. Danica Diegel, Denholm (4) and Dierra Diegel.W–Denholm. L–Binde. HR–Valley City, Denholm, Dierra Diegel.

Loser-out games

Fargo Shanley 11, Grand Forks Central 0

GFC 000 00 – 0

FS 182 00 –11

Becks, McWilliams (3) and Olson. Schmidt and Shons. W–Schmidt. L–Becks. HR–Shanley, Schons.

Fargo North 13, Grand Forks Red River 8

GFRR 110 105 0– 8

FN 240 007 x–13

Hoplin, Koopman (6) and Rosendahl. Fisher, DeLeon (6) and Mellick. W–DeLeon. L–Hoplin. HR–North, Spiess.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia