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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 31 2013

Lions top Dickinson in Class A softball tournament semifinals

WEST FARGO – At least one member of the Johnson family will leave Elmwood Park today with a state softball title. Minot Ryan made sure of that Friday night.

The Lions defeated Dickinson 4-0 in the North Dakota Class A semifinals to set up a title rematch with West Fargo. The Packers are coached by Pat Johnson. His daughter, Erin Loucks, is an assistant for Ryan.

It makes for an interesting story line, but that will have nothing to do with the 6 p.m. championship game, dad said.

“I’m not playing my daughter,” he said. “We’re playing another team. It doesn’t matter who the coach is.”

West Fargo won 1-0 in eight innings in last year’s championship. The best pitching staffs in the tournament were on a collision course for this title game since the first round on Thursday.

Dickinson gave Ryan its only loss, 2-1, back in the third game of the season, but the Midgets had a tougher time keeping it that close this time around.

The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Sam Smith scored on a wild pitch. They loaded the bases with one out in the third, but got nothing out of it.

But a pair of run-scoring singles in the fourth made for a long road back for the Midgets against starting pitcher Hannah Stewart, who struck out eight and surrendered just three hits.

The Lions have given up just three runs in their last six games.

D 000 000 0– 0 3 2

MR 010 210 x– 4 8 1

Butterfield and Hoffmann. Stewart and Lipp. W-Stewart. L–Butterfield.

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