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Dickinson defeats West Fargo in defensive showdown in semifinal – The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON — In what was clearly the tightest defensive game yet in the Class A North Dakota State Softball Tournament, the Dickinson High Midgets cruised to a 4-1 semifinal win over the West Fargo Packers on Friday, 31 May at the Sanford Softball Complex at Bravera Field and will now take on the Bismarck High Demons in the finals on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Packers will play Minot in the third-place game after the 10 a.m. Grand Forks Red River vs. West Fargo Sheyenne, Minot being upset by Bismarck Legacy. Friday in the semifinals.

As they have done many times this season, the midgets jumped out to an early lead, going up 2-0 in the first inning, and those proved to be all the points they would need as senior righty Ava Jahner struck out 7 Fargo North batters and held the visitors to just 2 hits while giving up an earned run and walking 6 for the win. Jahner was also handy with the bat, going 2-for-4 to help his cause with a homer, a run and 2 RBIs with a stolen base thrown in to upset the Packers during the tight game. Center fielder Jenna Decker and sophomore right fielder Gabby Sobolik also had sacks in the game, while freshman first baseman Madelynn Bren and sophomore shortstop Myah Merry provided the other 2 RBIs in the game.

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Dickinson’s Ava Jahner pitches against West Fargo during the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A state softball tournament Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Sanford Sports Complex in Dickinson.

David Samson/The Forum

“West Fargo brought it, man, that was a good, tough game and Ava pitched great,” Dickinson manager Amanda Mickey said. “She kept her composure so well and I’m so proud of her, and the kids came up with big, timely hits to get us 4 runs up there.”

The West Fargo team of senior hurler Grace Wehri, Emerson Rosenthal and quarterfinal hero Aubrey Finn also had solid performances in the circle, holding off the Midgets — who have nearly 20 wins at run-rule through the 2024 calendar – at 4 earned runs and scattering 8 hits while combining for 3 K and walking 4. Junior outfielder Katelyn Kackman and Finn recorded the 2 Packer hits as Wehri was out and replaced by pinch-runner Rosenthal, who scored from first on Finn’s double to cut the DHS lead in half. up 2-1 in the second frame after Jahner drove in Jenna Decker’s first-inning 2-run blast over the left field wall in the bottom of the first.

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Dickinson’s Mackenna Medina gets a new glove during the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A state softball tournament on Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Sanford Sports Complex in Dickinson.

David Samson/The Forum

“We had our opportunities and against good teams, that’s what you have to do: Execute, and we just didn’t get the big hit when we needed to and we had chances,” West Fargo manager Pat Johnson said. “Dickinson is a good team and any time you get a chance against a good team, you have to make sure you produce.”

The Midgets bats were far from quiet the rest of the way as the home team collected 4 hits and 2 runs over the next two innings with RBI singles from Bren and Merry scoring Sobolik and Farnsworth respectively but the Midgets also stranded 7 baserunners in the game, while the Packers left 6 of their own twist in the wind of the base paths. The crucial inning of the game came in the sixth when Jahner faced two bases loaded situations and worked his way out of the jam with 2 strikeouts and a forced home run to end the threat.

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Dickinson’s Braelynn Farnsworth slides home to score against West Fargo’s Chloe Papenfuss during the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A state softball tournament, Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Sanford Sports Complex in Dickinson.

David Samson/The Forum

“It was definitely a little stressful, but close games like that are fun because I had my team behind me the whole time and I knew our bats were going to catch up to us,” Jahner said. “I was a little worried at times, but I always knew we had it.”

Mickey added: “We’re doing a good job – holding our own – and the last half the pressure was on our backs and they said, ‘Let’s go!’

Jahner added, “I have so much confidence in my teammates and we work on defense all the time. I know they’re always going to have my back — whether it’s hitting or fielding — and you have to have a lot of faith in your teammates as a pitcher because you’re not always going to hit everybody or you’re not always going to hit yourself. spots, but as long as they’re there behind you, you’ll know you’ve got them.”

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Dickinson’s Myah Merry pitches against West Fargo during the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A state softball tournament, Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Sanford Sports Complex in Dickinson.

David Samson/The Forum

Senior third baseman Braelynn Farnsworth also had a multi-hit outing, going a perfect 2-for-2 on the day with a run and a double in the nightcap.

Meanwhile, DHS (29-4) has beaten Bismarck High twice this season — 18-8 and 16-6 on the road — on May 18.

For more information on softball in North Dakota, please visit

https://ndhsaanow.com/tournaments/softball and/or https://www.wdasports.org/postseasons/spring-2024/softball .

Gaylon Wm.  Parker

Gaylon is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla., but has lived all over the world. Growing up with an athletic background gave him a love of sports that led to a career in journalism in places like Enid, Okla., Alamogordo, NM, Pascagoula, Miss. and Viera, Fla. since 1998. His main passion is the small town. community sports, especially baseball and soccer.