Kindred-Richland hangs on to win Class B state softball title
FARGO--Kindred-Richland started fast and held off a furious Grafton comeback to win the North Dakota Class B state softball championship, 8-6, on Saturday, June 4, at Mickelson Park. The Vikings have won two state titles in three years after winn...
FARGO--Kindred-Richland started fast and held off a furious Grafton comeback to win the North Dakota Class B state softball championship, 8-6, on Saturday, June 4, at Mickelson Park. The Vikings have won two state titles in three years after winning in 2014.
"I just want to cherish this moment and remember it forever," Kindred-Richland shortstop Mikayla Reinke said. "It's such an amazing feeling, I can't even describe it."
Reinke opened the floodgates for the Vikings with a two-run home run in a seven-run first inning. She battled with Spoilers pitcher Megan Osowski, fouling off pitch after pitch and running the count up to 3-2. Reinke finally got a pitch she liked and hammered a no-doubt homer into a group of fans that had set up lawn chairs beyond the right-field fence, plating leadoff batter Emily Peterson.
"I just wanted to be there for the team to start it off," said Reinke, who finished the game 2-for-4 with four RBIs and a run. "I thought there was no better way to start it off than that."
Her first inning wasn't over after the home run, as Kindred-Richland sent 12 batters to the plate. With the bases loaded and two outs, Reinke hit a two-run double to pick up her third and fourth RBIs of the inning, and the team's sixth and seventh runs.
"It was very big," Kindred-Richland co-head coach Cory Johnson said. "We didn't do too much after that. But I'm confident if we hadn't had that, we would have come through during the game a little more. Seven runs certainly helps."
After giving up five hits and four walks in the first inning for Grafton, Osowski regained the form that helped propel her team into the state championship game. She gave up only two hits and one run the rest of the game.
The Spoilers answered in the second inning, scoring three runs to cut the score to 7-3. With Osowski and first baseman Bailey Beneda on base, Jillian Hanson smacked a single up the middle to plate the both runners. Karly Kennelly later scored the Spoilers third run of the inning on a throwing error by the catcher.
Grafton took another bite into the Kindred-Richland lead with a two-run fifth, to get within two runs at 7-5. Kennelly drove in Ali Martinson with a single up the middle. The shortstop had a play on the ball, but Martinson ran in front of her and the umpires declared it was not baserunner interference. Jaden Hanson later scored on a throwing error.
With Grafton mounting a comeback, Kindred-Richland was just trying to hang on and keep playing its game to seal the championship.
"We said we need to do our thing," Vikings co-head coach Sam Brandt said. "We didn't even need to worry about what they were doing. We need to do our thing to win the game the way we wanted to play."
The Vikings gave themselves some breathing room in the fifth inning when Bailey Reiland drove in Elizabeth Saewart from third base to extend the lead to 8-5.
"I think it calmed the nerves a little bit," Brandt said.
A 1-2-3 top of the seventh inning from relief pitcher Theresa Klinnert sealed the championship for the Vikings.
The championship game was the second victory of the day for Kindred-Richland, which defeated Central Cass 6-0 in a semifinal matchup. That game was scheduled to be played Friday, June 3, but was postponed due to weather.
Osowski and Niemann. Christensen, Klinnert (6) and Miller. W-Christensen. L-Osowski. HR-KR, Reinke.
Kindred-Richland 6, Central Cass 0
Central Cass 4, Stanley 2
Watford City 6, Des Lacs-Burlington-Lewis & Clark 1
Thompson 2, Wilton-Wing 1