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Lions strike again: Minot Ryan shuts out Dickinson during semifinals of Class A state softball

FNS Photo by Dave Wallis Minot Ryan's Hannah Stewart delivers a pitch against Dickinson during a Class A state semifinal game Friday in West Fargo.

WEST FARGO -- At least one member of the Johnson family will leave Elmwood Park today with a state softball title.

Minot Ryan made sure of that Friday night.

The Lions defeated Dickinson 4-0 in the North Dakota Class A semifinals to set up a title rematch with West Fargo. The Packers are coached by Pat Johnson. His daughter, Erin Loucks, is an assistant for Ryan.

It makes for an interesting story line, but that will have nothing to do with the 5 p.m. championship game, dad said.

"I'm not playing my daughter," he said. "We're playing another team. It doesn't matter who the coach is."

West Fargo won 1-0 in eight innings in last year's championship. The best pitching staffs in the tournament were on a collision course for this title game since the first round on Thursday.

Dickinson (20-6) gave Ryan its only loss, 2-1, back in the third game of the season, but the Midgets had a tougher time keeping it that close this time around.

The Lions (21-1) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Sam Smith scored on a wild pitch. They loaded the bases with one out in the third, but got nothing out of it.

But a pair of run-scoring singles in the fourth made for a long road back for the Midgets against starting pitcher Hannah Stewart, who struck out eight and surrendered just three hits. She also went 4-for-4 with a RBI at the plate. She was the only player on Minot Ryan's roster to have multiple hits.

Lexi Yates, Briana Farnsworth and Rachel Jahner each supplied a hit for Dickinson. Haley Butterfield threw six innings, allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out three. Butterfield was the lone pitcher to defeat Minot Ryan this season.

The Lions have given up just three runs in their last six games.

Dickinson will now play West Region opponent Bismarck Century for the third place game at 1 p.m. today. Win or lose, this will be the Midgets' best finish at the state tournament in program history.

Minot Ryan 4, Dickinson 0

Dickinson 000 000 0 -- 0 3 3

Minot Ryan 010 210 x -- 4 8 1

Haley Butterfield and Sierra Rohr. Hannah Stewart.

W-Stewart. L-Butterfield.

Highlights: MR, Stewart 4-for-4, 4 3B, RBI, SB; Sam Smith 1-for-2, 2 Runs, 3B.

Records: D, 20-6. MR, 21-1.