Demons down familiar foe in state softball semifinal Friday
Bismarck High and Legacy faced off in the first semifinal of the 2022 State Softball Tournament Friday afternoon.
Billy Schmidt's game plan was pretty simple when looking at Bismarck High's state softball semifinal against Bismarck Legacy: don't let Legacy score.
The Demons made a difficult feat look pretty easy Friday afternoon.
BHS defeated the Sabers 2-0 to advance to its fourth state softball championship berth since 2017. The Demons are set to face defending state champs, Dickinson, in the tournament title match on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Jamestown's Trapper Field.
"We're excited," BHS senior shortstop Payton Gerving said. "We just needed two wins in the state tournament to get there and we're where we want to be and where we thought we'd be at the end of the season."
Bismarck Legacy will have the chance to play for third place, facing off against Jamestown, Saturday at 1 p.m.
While the Demons came out with their second win of the weekend Friday, it wasn't as easy as some might have predicted.
"This senior class, across the state, and specifically in the West, is exceptionally talented," Legacy head coach Holly Schild said. "I wasn't shocked that the West was able to sweep the first round of games because it's been that way all season. To get to State is a big deal because you have to beat some very good teams to do it."
After opening the first with one run, Bismarck's Logan Gronberg sent Mia Hinsz home on a grounder out to centerfield. A series of well-placed hits on the next few plays, sent Brielle Wrangham up to the plate with the bases loaded.
A pop-fly out to left field didn't have the carry Wrangham was hoping for and Legacy managed to come out of the inning with minimal damage.
Bismarck's pair of runs came right away in the first and second, forcing the Demons to rely on their experienced defense to hold Legacy at zero as the Sabers have had a history of proving themselves in the batter's box.
"It's always nerve-wracking because all it takes is one hit and the game is tied," Schmidt said. "They have some good hitters so it's always nerve-wracking I always say no lead is a safe one."
Brynn Arnold took a gutsy gamble in the top of the third. The sophomore shortstop had a nice stroke out to right field, landing her at second. Arnold took the risk and tried to steal third but Gerving quickly pitched to her sister, Sydney, who tagged Arnold out and sent BHS back to the bats.
"I think we just stuck together this year," Gerving said. "We had some rough games but we always relied on our defense and pitching to get us through and win those big games."
Legacy has also relied on its pitching this season but an unlucky stroke took its starter out of the circle.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tori Olson, the senior pitcher for Legacy, let go a pitch to Brielle Wrangham who accidentally hit Olson in the forearm on the stroke.
The hit sent Olson to her knees but only after she made the play at first to get the out.
Olson left the game temporarily to tend to her injury, but made an appearance in the bottom of the fifth, but instead of retaking her stance in the circle. she made two key plays out at shortstop.
The senior played through the rest of the seven innings.
"She's a gamer," Schild said of Olson. "She's the kid who will give you 110% 110% of the time. I don't think anything could have kept her from coming back into the game. Since she was a seventh grader, she's been that way so I wouldn't expect anything different from her."
Bismarck did outhit Legacy 7-3 but Schild said she was greatly impressed with her team's response.
"When you look back at how we played them at the beginning of the season compared to how we played them today, I don't think I could ask for better effort out of our girls," Schild said. "To hold them to two runs is a pretty big deal."
While Legacy is going on to play for its highest finish in program history, Gerving is looking to finish out her prep career and third state championship trip with some state softball tourney hardware
"I hope we win tomorrow — I know we can do it we just have to come and play our best game," Gerving said.
"It's the fourth time now — I should get (a title) one of these days."
2022 Class A State Softball Tournament
Bismarck High 2, Legacy 0
LEG 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
BHS 110 000 X — 2 7 0
LEG: Tori Olson, Brynn Arnold (4); BHS: Logan Gronberg. W — Gronberg; L — Olson
Highlights: BHS — Gronberg (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB) 2-4, RBI; Gerving 2-4, Caitlyn Dannenfelzer 1-1; Brielle Wrangham RBI.
LEG — Olson (3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 5 BB); Brynn Arnold 1-2, 2B; Katie LeMoine 1-3; Elise Stewart 1-2.
2022 Class A State Softball Tournament
West Fargo 12, Valley City 5
VC 230 000 0 — 5 6 4
WF 141 240 X — 12 13 1
VC: Sydney Larsen, Autumn McGough (5); WF: Grace Wehri, Emma Johnson (2). W — Johnson; L — Larsen
Highlights: WF — Johnson (5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 9 K, 0 BB) 1-3, 2B; Katelyn Kackman 3-5; Sophie Ochocki 3-4, 3 RBI, 2B, HR; Courtney Docktor 3-3, 3 RBI, 2B; Sydney Dye 1-4, 2 RBI; Kendel Krenz 1-3, 2 RBI, Aubrey Finn 1-4.
LEG — Bailey Leroux 2-3; Autumn McGough 2-4, RBI, 2B; Emma Langemo 1-3, 2 RBI; Dylann Diegel 1-3, 2 RBI.