Falcons advance past Watford City after delay

It took a little bit longer than it expected, but a win is a win for the Enderlin-Maple Valley softball team.

After inclement weather delayed the conclusion of their game into Friday morning, the Falcons made quick work of Watford City in their 8-2 victory over the Wolves in the Class B state tournament quarterfinals at South Hill Complex. It took all of 15 minutes to complete the final two weather-delayed innings.

“Our defense has been awesome,” E-MV coach Lacey Hauser said. “Kaylee Johnson did a great job pitching and the defense was behind her.”

The Falcons improved to 6-1 all-time at the state tournament, while Watford City, in its second appearance, is still seeking its first victory.

The Falcons (13-6) struck first, plating a run in the top of the first on an RBI single through the left side by Megan Johnson. The two-out hit scored Megan Kasowski from third.

The Wolves (11-7) responded with two in the bottom half of the first to grab a 2-1 lead. Watford City capitalized on two E-MV errors to claim its only lead of the contest. Tori Hopkins reached base on an error at short to lead off the inning and came around to score on an RBI single by Kaytlyn Grimes three batters later. Karissa Monsen brought home Kamryn Grimes to put the Wolves in front.

It was all E-MV from there as it tied the game at 3 when Abbie Tinjum singled, advanced to second on a throwing error and stole both third and home. The Falcons took a 3-2 lead with a run in the fourth and created some breathing room with a four-run fifth.

E-MV’s first four batters reached base to open the frame. Kasowski and Kaylee Johnson singled, Megan Johnson reached on an error and Rylee Nudell tripled to deep right to drive in two.

“We had a lot of mental mistakes,” Watford City coach Devin Langerud said. “We had some running errors, we had some fielding errors. We batted OK, but we just couldn’t string it together in the right order.”

The Falcons grabbed a 7-2 lead and had their leadoff batter single in the top of the sixth before Mother Nature halted the game until Friday morning. E-MV had the only hit following the delay as Megan Johnson drove in Kasowski, who had been stranded on first for 14 hours, with a single to center field.

“It was odd, but we were ready for it,” Hauser said. “We’re ready for anything. We were ahead 7-2 and said that we can’t let up, just keep at it. Our bats were getting hot and that continued.”

The Wolves had two batters reach base via errors Friday, but neither advanced past second base.

“I thought maybe a new day would get us going, but I guess we were just too far in a deficit,” Langerud said.

Kaylee Johnson pitched a complete-game five-hitter to record the win in the circle. She struck out nine and walked two.

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.