Sioux aim to continue success from region tourney

On May 20 at South Hill Complex, the Westhope-Newburg-Bottineau softball team hoisted the Class B West Region tournament championship trophy.

On Saturday at the same venue, the Sioux hope to haul home some state title hardware as well.

“Anytime in baseball or softball you can hit, bat and field, you’re going to have a pretty good opportunity to win,” W-N-B coach Layne Fluhrer said. “That’s what we were able to do in the regional and hopefully we’ll be able to carry that over. If we do that, we should have a pretty good shot at her.”

The Sioux (12-7) open the state tournament with a noon matchup against East Region No. 4 seed Grafton. Both teams were members of the Class B North Division the past two years before the North Dakota High School Activities Association switched to an East and West Region. Grafton owns the all-time series 3-0.

“Cindy Holt, their coach, is a very good coach, so we know her girls will be very fundamental and they won’t make a lot of mistakes,” Fluhrer said. “We’ll have to earn the victory if we want to win.”

Junior pitcher Sam Colman (9-2) is projected to start in the circle throughout the tournament. The right-hander lowered her ERA to 4.76 after shutting out Watford City in the region title game. Colman also leads the Sioux in batting average (.549) and is one of seven W-N-B regulars with an on-base percentage better than .475.

“We have a lot of juniors that have played a lot of innings the past three years,” said Fluhrer, noting infielders Lauren Mach, Jacie Ceglowski, Maddy Lodoen, Molly Lodoen and Amber Hall along with Colman. “They’re ready and they’re ready to step up and be leaders.”

Fluhrer noted his team’s depth, which continues to grow. W-N-B’s program is in its third season, the first of which included zero wins. The Sioux’s current five-game winning streak is a program record.

“Our bottom of our order really started hitting the last few weeks of the season,” Fluhrer said. “When we can have 1-9 batters having a good chance of getting on base, it makes any coach’s life easier.”

Mach boasts a team-high 16 extra-base hits, including seven homers. She sent a long ball deep in the region title game – on a day when everything seemed to go right for W-N-B.

Fluhrer wouldn’t mind three more of those type of outings.

“If they continue to play the way that they have been, they’ll give us a good shot,” he said.