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Packers roll over Midgets in Class A state softball semifinals

MANDAN -- The first pitch Sami Dullum saw from Amber Sickler, she roped it for a double to the right-center field wall. And the West Fargo rout was on. A five-run first inning from the Packers gave the 19-time defending state champions all the br...

Dickinson High sophomore Kamryn Kuntz throws out a West Fargo runner from third base on Friday in the Class A state softball semifinals at Ft. Lincoln Elementary School. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High sophomore Kamryn Kuntz throws out a West Fargo runner from third base on Friday in the Class A state softball semifinals at Ft. Lincoln Elementary School. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

MANDAN - The first pitch Sami Dullum saw from Amber Sickler, she roped it for a double to the right-center field wall.

And the West Fargo rout was on.

A five-run first inning from the Packers gave the 19-time defending state champions all the breathing room they would need in an eventual 10-0 win over Dickinson High in five innings on Friday in the Class A state softball tournament semifinals at Ft. Lincoln Elementary School.

"I know we have a lot of work to do in the offseason if we want to even come close to being as good as them," Midgets head coach Amanda Mickey said.

West Fargo (32-3) advances to Saturday's championship game against Bismarck High at 3 p.m. Central. The Midgets (23-10) will face Minot Bishop Ryan in the third place game at 12:30 p.m.

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The Packers, who defeated Dickinson in each of the last two state championship games, flexed their muscle early.

After Dullum's double, Lauren Diemert singled for a 1-0 lead. After loading the bases, Sickler walked in a run, issuing a free pass to Tori Nichols-Kraft. Abby Jones relieved Sickler after that and allowed three other runners to score.

Sickler was charged with five runs on two hits with three walks while only getting one out.

In the fourth inning, West Fargo's Gabby DuBois led off with a home run, and Mikayla Johnson later followed with an RBI double for a 7-0 lead.

In the fifth, the Packers scratched three runs across the plate before Dickinson recorded an out, ending the game by run-rule.

Dickinson was afforded just two baserunners all game, and both were junior Jordie McNeilly.

Aside from a single to lead off the second inning and walk with two outs in the fourth, West Fargo senior Stephi Dullum, Sami's twin sister, kept the Midgets off the basepaths.

"She threw a high fastball, or a rise-ball, and that was tough. A lot of us chased it," McNeilly said. "She has speed and can move her ball around, so that was tough."

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Stephi Dullum finished with five strikeouts, dispatching the Midgets with just 66 pitches.

"For the most part, she hit her spots, but she got stronger as the game went on," Packers head coach Pat Johnson said. "Dickinson is a good all-around team, so you have to be aware of the bunt, be aware of hit-and-runs. The catcher (McNeilly) has a really good arm, so you can't fall asleep or she'll pick you off. They're a well-coached team, and you have to play a good game to beat them."

Jones and Sickler combined to issue eight walks and 12 hits, so when the Packers weren't swinging, they were waiting for a pitch they liked.

"They're a good team, and they can be beat. You had to go in with an open mind," Mickey said. "They're a very disciplined team, and they only swing at strikes."

With one game left in their season, the Midgets will look to end on a happy note by taking third place in the state.

"It's going to be a big priority for us to come out a get a win," McNeilly said. "Only three teams get a win in their last games, and we want to be one of those."

West Fargo 10, Dickinson High 0

DHS 000 00 - 0 1 2

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WF 500 23 - 10 12 0

DHS: Amber Sickler (0.1), Abby Jones (3.2) and Jordie McNeilly. WF: Stephi Dullum (5.0) and Sami Dullum.

W-Stephi Dullum. L-Sickler. HR-WF: Gabby DuBois.

Highlights: DHS, McNeilly 1-2, BB; Sickler 1/3 IP, 2 H, 5 R (5 ER), 3 BB; Jones 3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 5 R (4 ER), 6 BB, 1 K. WF, DuBois 2-4, HR, 2 RBI; Brooklyn Myrvik 1-3, 2 RBI; Sami Dullum 2-3, 2B; Lauren Diemert 3-4, 1 R, 1 RBI; Catherine Gilbertson 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI; Mikayla Johnson 1-3, 2B, 1 RBI; Stephi Dullum 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 K, 1 BB.

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