N.D. CLASS B SOFTBALL: Flu, Kindred-Richland no match for Grafton’s Jiskra
By Parker Cotton Forum News Service DICKINSON, N.D. -- Grafton's Betsy Jiskra entered the Class B softball tournament with the flu. But she took some time away from feeling sick to play the hero on Friday at Gress Softball Complex. Jiskra launche...
By Parker Cotton
Forum News Service
DICKINSON, N.D. - Grafton’s Betsy Jiskra entered the Class B softball tournament with the flu.
But she took some time away from feeling sick to play the hero on Friday at Gress Softball Complex.
Jiskra launched a RBI triple to right-center field, which allowed Karly Kennelly to score from second, and the Spoilers added another run in the eighth inning en route to a 4-2 semifinal win over Kindred-Richland to advance to its first North Dakota Class B softball championship game.
The Vikings entered the game undefeated, the top seed from the East Region and the defending Class B state champions.
“I’m so happy that we did it. I’m feeling a lot better,” said Jiskra, a junior. “I just went up and wanted to crank one out there. It’s super exciting.”
While her flu may be gone, something else spread throughout the Spoilers’ team after the game: euphoria.
“It’s a different feeling knowing we defeated a team that hadn’t lost a game all season,” Grafton junior pitcher Megan Osowski said. “We should be proud of ourselves because we came back, and we fought.”
Osowski, who also pitched for the second consecutive day, opened the game with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly from her catcher, senior Emma Papenfuss. In the fifth, Osowski added a RBI single up the middle to give the Spoilers a 2-0 lead.
Kindred-Richland’s Cheyenne Gurley began the sixth inning with a triple and later scored on Carley Knudsen’s groundout to third. Vikings pitcher Savannah Christensen notched a RBI double in the seventh to tie the game and force extra innings.
“I came out really strong, and probably around the fifth inning I started feeling a little fatigue from pitching all yesterday,” Osowski said. “But it was so close, and we figured out how to get it done.”
Osowski finished with three strikeouts, three walks and five hits allowed.
Kennelly had a one-out single in the top of the eighth, stole second and scored easily on Jiskra’s triple. After Osowski was hit by a pitch, she stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Madison Johnson, which allowed Jiskra to score the final run.
The Spoilers, the No. 3 seed from the East, benefited all day from spectacular defense in the infield, particularly that of shortstop Jill Hanson and from Pappenfuss, the catcher. Osowski even left the circle on a number of occasions to field pop-ups that are usually handled by other positions.
Grafton moves on to play Central Cass in the Class B championship at 3:30 p.m. today.
“We’re just excited to be going to play for first,” Grafton head coach Cindy Holt said. “I’m so proud of the girls. They’re playing great ball. That’s what hard work does.”