Ryan blanks Century for West Region softball title
Minot Ryan used two innings in two games to seal its first West Region softball championship on a dreary and ice cold Saturday at Gress Softball Complex.
After putting up 10 runs in the fifth inning to break a tie and defeat Dickinson High 12-2 in the semifinals, the Lions leaned on freshman pitcher Hannah Stewart to keep top-seeded Bismarck Century at bay.
Stewart had just two strikeouts but scattered just four hits as the No. 2 seed Lions gave their pitcher five extra runs to work with in the seventh inning. Ryan held on to win 7-0.
"It seems to come in bunches for us a lot of times," Ryan head coach Fred Mueller said. "As soon as we start hitting, it seems like everyone else just follows suit."
Alex Smith's two-run triple in the seventh put Ryan ahead 5-0 and Hannah Kramer helped tack on another with an RBI single.
It was a near-spitting image of how the Lions (27-5) devastated the Midgets in the fifth inning earlier in the day.
In that inning, Dickinson gave up three runs on passed balls and two more on an error.
Kramer said what helped the Lions was not worrying about the weather. The temperature hovered just above freezing as a drizzle that turned to snow flurries at one point pelted the complex through a northeast wind.
"I don't think the weather really stopped any of how we were thinking about coming out in the game," Kramer said. "We were all thinking about coming out like it was 90 degrees. The weather didn't matter."
Ryan will face East No. 4 seed Devils Lake at noon CDT Thursday in the opening game of the Class A state tournament at West Fargo's Elmwood Field.
Mikaila Wax went 2-for-3 to lead the Patriots (26-5), who face East No. 3 seed Grand Forks Red River at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
"The one and two seeds are going to go down and do some damage in the state this year," Century head coach Kevin Ziegler said. "(East Region champion) West Fargo is going to be the favorite. I told him (Mueller) that one of us is going to nail them this year. That's what we're hoping for."