Hometown Team: Blue Jays pull together to defeat West Fargo
Jamestown took on West Fargo in the opening round of the 2022 Class A State Softball Tournament Thursday.
Ella Falk said rolling up her sleeves was what worked to get the 3-2 win over Minot in the WDA softball tournament state qualifier.
The Jamestown High School junior did it again on Thursday — literally and figuratively.
Tied at zero with West Fargo in the top of the fourth in the state quarterfinal, Falk turned, let loose and ripped one out to left field recording a two-run home run — a score that gave the host team their first lead of the day.
"I didn't roll up my sleeves as much because I didn't want the uneven tan line but everything seemed to be working so I might as well keep up what I was doing," Falk said with a laugh. "We are really happy with this outcome.
"We communicated well, pitching was so good, we backed that up with some runs — overall it was just a great team game."
Jamestown completed the WDA sweep in the opening round of the 2022 Class A State Softball Tournament, defeating West Fargo 4-2 to clinch a state tourney semifinal berth. Jamestown is set to match up against Dickinson in the semis at 6 p.m. Friday night at Jamestown's Trapper Field.
The Packers will match up against Valley City in Friday's 1 p.m. consolation game.
As if one wasn't enough, Jamestown doubled down with the dingers.
Sophomore Makenna Nold powered one out to center field to put a trio of runs on the board for the Blue Jays.
Jenna Fischer sent one into the right-field gap that landed her at second and drove in Jada Walter in from third to make it a 4-nothing Blue Jay game. Fischer is one of the best hitters on the squad with a .400 batting percentage — but all nine of the starting Blue Jays have tabulated at least one homerun over the fence.
The defense was pretty dang solid too — giving West Fargo very few chances to notch a run.
Walter might have misjudged a pop fly in the opening frame, but the junior third-baseman found redemption, making a diving catch to record an out on Mara Lick's bunt then turned around and got out No. 3 of the frame on a 3-5-6 double play.
Walter also helped keep the Packers scoreless, catching and squeezing Kendel Krenz's pop-out to record the first out of the bottom of the third. Katie Trumbauer notched the second out on the next play and Katie Falk capped it off with a strikeout of Katelyn Kackman.
"We're a really good defensive team and we really wanted to show that tonight," Walter said. "Our goal is to make it to the state championship and we thought that our defense could help get us there."
Jamestown had one error Thursday night.
While Kackman was retired on her first at-bat, she was the one who got West Fargo on the board. Kackman doubled on a line drive out to left fielder, sending Krenz and Delia Osland home.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win," West Fargo head coach Pat Johnson said. "Jamestown's just steady. Everybody works hard and everybody does their job. When you put the bat on ball — good things happen."
A pitching change by the Jays shut down what momentum the Packers had as Nold got the save and took down Mara Lick with a four-pitch strikeout.
Katie threw 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. The junior walked two and added four strikeouts to her season total.
"Katie is throwing so well and I wanted her to continue as long as she could," JHS head coach Mike Soulis said. "In that situation, we still had the lead — we had two outs at the time and we just thought we'd bring in Makenna to get a strikeout and get us out of here and that's what happened."
Nold went the last 2.1 innings, knocking down five Ks, allowing none of the three hits allowed to cross the plate.
In the bottom of the sixth, Falk barehanded a throw to make a 9-6 putout to notch out No. 2 of the half-inning. Falk's defensive play of the game was followed by a K from Nold to keep the score at 4-2 Jays. West Fargo was unable to do anything against the Blue Jay defense the bottom of the seventh.
"That's the second runner she's thrown out this year," Soulis said of Falk. "She's got the hottest bat right now and why she isn't an All-Conference player, I don't know but she is in my book. She's a solid player and things are clicking for her — it's fun."
Jamestown 4, West Fargo 2
JHS 000 310 0 — 4 4 1
WF 000 020 0 — 2 5 0
JHS: Katie Falk, Makenna Nold (5); WF: Emma Johnson, Grace Wehri (4). W — Falk; L — Johnson
Highlights: JHS — Falk (4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 K, 2 BB); Ella Falk 2-2, 2 RBI, HR; Jenna Fischer 1-3, RBI, 2B; Makenna Nold 1-3, RBI, HR.
WF — Johnson (3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 K, 2 BB); Katelyn Kackman 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Sophie Ochocki1-3; Courtney Docktor 2-3, 2B.