PREP SOFTBALL: Miller’s hitting powers Central into region semifinals
Grand Forks Central head coach Steve Olson and assistant Danny Marto were assessing the Knights' performance Thursday and came to an agreement. It was the first time the Knights put together a complete game in more than a month. Good timing. No.7...
Grand Forks Central head coach Steve Olson and assistant Danny Marto were assessing the Knights’ performance Thursday and came to an agreement.
It was the first time the Knights put together a complete game in more than a month.
No.7 seed Central took advantage of eight walks and received timely hits from senior outfielder Deja Miller in upsetting No. 2 Fargo Davies 8-2 in the first round of the East Region softball tournament at Apollo Park.
The Knights, who lost to Davies 4-2 during the regular season, improved to 12-12. Davies, which is on a five-game losing skid, dropped to 16-8.
“You have to view it as an upset if you look at as a No. 2 against a No. 7,” Olson said, “but I look at teams two through eight as almost the same teams. We have the same type of teams. We don’t have overpowering pitching, so people are going to put the ball in play.”
Central advances to the region semifinals against No. 3 seed Valley City, while Davies will play No. 6 Fargo North in a loser-out game. Both games start at 7 p.m.
Central took the lead for good in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of runs. Miller powered a triple to the left-field fence to give the Knights a 3-2 lead. MacKenzie Olson followed with a liner up the middle to score Miller.
That was enough run support for Willow Rynestad, who didn’t allow the Eagles a run after the fourth inning.
“We threw strikes and didn’t walk many batters,” Olson said.
Olson said the team’s goal is to make the state tournament. The Hi-Liners swept the Knights during the regular season.
“If we can put all three facets of our game together, we’re as good as anyone probably sans West Fargo,” Olson said. “Everyone is chasing West Fargo.
“Valley City can hit. Their pitching is a lot like ours in that some balls will be in play. It’ll come down to who gets the timely hits and who fields.”
After Central claimed a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, the Eagles answered back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mercedes Swanson’s double scored Carla Binde and Rio Permenter.
Binde, who took the pitching loss for the Eagles, recorded two of the team’s six hits.