May-Port-CG fights off 3 elimination games to reach state
Three times in the East Region Class B softball tournament, Mayville-Portland-CG faced elimination. Instead of their season ending, however, the Patriots are headed to the North Dakota Class B high school fastpitch tournament, to be held Thursday...
Three times in the East Region Class B softball tournament, Mayville-Portland-CG faced elimination.
Instead of their season ending, however, the Patriots are headed to the North Dakota Class B high school fastpitch tournament, to be held Thursday through Saturday in Jamestown.
The No. 8-seeded Patriots rallied from a 7-4 deficit entering the bottom of the seventh inning to score four runs and beat Hankinson 8-7 in a region play-in game. After a quarterfinal loss, May-Port-CG beat Enderlin-Maple Valley 7-5 in the loser-out round and Northern Cass 7-5 in the loser-out state-qualifier round.
"Our goal going into the season was to host a play-in game and get into the region tournament,'' Patriots coach Harry Lipsiea said. "We hadn't made the regional the last two seasons.''
Lipsiea said he had his postseason speech planned late in the Hankinson game. But the Patriot fortunes changed.
"I thought we were done,'' Lipsiea said. "After that game, the pressure was off. But, based on the way the girls have played, with their athleticism, I'm not surprised we're going to state.''
The Patriots were 3-8 at one point this season, but take a 7-9 record and wins in four of their last five games to state. The numbers indicate the turnaround; they scored 46 runs in their first 11 games (4.2 per game), and have 39 runs (7.8 average) in their last five.
Seven regulars are hitting better than .300, led by Dallas Jorgensen (.458, 20 RBI), Ali Hutter (.395), Hannah Ust (.333) and Ellie Bergstrom (.333). Hutter is the team's lone senior.
"We've had hitting practice at 6:30 in the morning three times a week,'' Lipsiea said. "The girls really have taken advantage of that. You can see it in the way they've improved their hitting.''
The regular lineup: Fr. Hannah Ust (.333), soph. Julia Kohls (.235), sr. Ali Hutter (.395), fr. Dallas Jorgensen (.458), soph. Kennedy Foss (.321), jr. Abby Freeland (.205), jr. Hannah Lundwall (.315), jr. Ashley Erickson (.309), fr. Ellie Bergstrom (.333).
Burros end state drought
Hillsboro-Central Valley played in the initial NDHSAA-sanctioned Class B fastpitch tournament in 2012, placing fifth. Now the Burros are returning to state for the first time since 2012 as the No. 3 seed from the East Region.
Hillsboro-CV was eliminated in the region loser-out state-qualifier round each of the past two seasons.
"We had a couple of down years after we went to state,'' veteran H-CV coach Cory Erickson said. "But we've turned it around.
"We were getting tired of being one win short. We had a good offense in 2015, but we didn't have pitching. Last year, we had pitching, but we didn't get the big hits at key times. We have several third-year starters who were on those teams.''
Caitlyn Stuart leads a solid pitching staff. The offense has totaled 181 runs with a team batting average of .427. Laura Spurgeon (.596, 27 RBI), Hannah Buzick (.569, 3 HR, 21 RBI) and Nicole Hurt (.524). At 12-5, the Burros have set a program single-season record for wins.
"We have a good heart of the order with Laura hitting third and Hannah fourth,'' Erickson said. "And we don't have a weak spot in our batting order.''
The regular lineup: Fr. Katelyn Rude (.340, 10 RBI), soph. MacKenzie Iverson (.425), jr. Laura Spurgeon (.596, 13 extra-base hits, 27 RBI), jr. Hannah Buzick (.569, 3 HR, 21 RBI), jr. Janessa Matthys (.422, 9 RBI), jr. Janessa Ackerman (.326), jr. Karlee Johnson (.480, 21 RBI), soph. Nicole Hurt (.524, 13 RBI), jr. Tayah Beck (.175, 9 RBI).