N.D. CLASS B SOFTBALL: Thompson slugs its way to success
THOMPSON--Pitching and defense, that's how Thompson earned a spot in the North Dakota Class B high school softball tournament. Pitcher Allie Ivesdal allowed just four hits and her defense made just one error as Thompson beat Northern Cass 2-1 in ...
THOMPSON-Pitching and defense, that's how Thompson earned a spot in the North Dakota Class B high school softball tournament.
Pitcher Allie Ivesdal allowed just four hits and her defense made just one error as Thompson beat Northern Cass 2-1 in the loser-out, state-qualifier round of the East Region tournament. Pitching and defense-a style that caught Tommies coach Matt Chandler by surprise.
"We won with pitching and defense when we needed to,'' Chandler said. "But we haven't done that all year. I thought it would be a slugfest. I definitely thought we'd need more than two runs to win.''
That's because the 11-10 Tommies are at their best when they're hitting. They're 10-5 when they score seven or more runs. The win against Northern Cass was the first time this season Thompson won a game in which it scored less than six runs. The team is 1-5 in those games.
"When we hit, we've been successful,'' Chandler said. "But there have been some days when our opponents have put on a laser show with their bats.''
At the top of the order, Annie Nistler (.243 batting average) and Molly McHugo (.344) have scored 33 and 32 runs, respectively. The heart of the order consists of Kailen Dolleslager (.552, 27 RBI), Emily Overby (.418, 35 RBI), Taylor Zak (.384, 26 RBI) and Jettie Strand (.456, 18 RBI).
"Annie and Molly have good on-base percentages,'' Chandler said. "And if they get on base, chances are good they'll score. We have some RBI machines hitting behind them with Kailen, Emily and Taylor. And Jettie has had a strong season. Those girls are talented hitters.''
To do well at state, the Tommies likely will have to find ways to duplicate their final region tournament game and limit opponents' scoring.
"In the games we give up a lot of runs, it seems like it's always one bad inning that really hurts us,'' Chandler said. "We've been pretty successful when we've been able to avoid that one bad inning.''
And there have been games where Thompson's offense has prevailed even when it has allowed opponents that one big inning. "Our offense has been pretty successful,'' Chandler said. "But, really, I think we're capable of more.''
Thompson at a glance
Coach: Matt Chandler.
Record: 11-10, No. 4 seed from East Region.
State tournament opener: The Tommies play West Region No. 1 seed Stanley at noon Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class B state tournament in Fargo.
Recent state tournament history: Thompson is making its first state tournament appearance since 2013.
Regular lineup: Sr. Annie Nistler (.243, 8 RBI, 15 SB), sr. Molly McHugo (.344, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 15 SB), soph. Kailen Dolleslager (.552, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 12 SB), sr. Emily Overby (.418, 35 RBI), fr. Taylor Zak (.384, 26 RBI), sr. Jettie Strand (.456, 18 RBI), soph. Lindsey Stegman (.241, 11 RBI), soph. Erika Thorson (.222, 14 RBI), fr. Allie Ivesdal (.333, 12 RBI, 13 SB).
Top pitchers: Ivesdal (11-6, 4.05 ERA), Strand (1-2, 6.40).