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Squirrels back into softball title game

Central Cass faced Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood/Kenmare/Bowbells in Friday evening's state softball tournament semifinals.

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Aubree Lindstrom of Central Cass delivers a pitch Friday, June 4, 2021, during the North Dakota State Class B Girls' Softball Tournament at Trapper Field in Jamestown. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The Central Cass High School softball team has wound up back where many have come to expect the Squirrels to be: the Class B State Softball title game.

"When I was a sophomore, we were back at this place and I was a little backup pitcher," Central Cass senior pitcher Aubree Lindstrom said. "It feels good to be out here (again)."

The Squirrels went toe-to-toe with Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood/Kenmare/Bowbells in the Class B state softball tournament semifinals Friday night at Jamestown's Trapper Field. Central Cass ended up squeaking by the Mavericks 2-0 to advance to the team's eighth state title game in nine years.

The Squirrels will face Thompson in the finals tomorrow following the third-place game at Trapper Field. The Tommies were the only Class B team to have beaten the Squirrels all season but some -- like the Mavericks -- have given the Squirrels a run in the tournament.

Central Cass was coming off a 3-2 win over Wilton-Wing in the quarterfinals and faced many of the same challenges the first few innings against the Mavericks -- most notably solid pitching.

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"They definitely have a good pitcher," Lindstrom said of the Mavericks' squad. "We've been seeing good pitching lately but we'd never seen her before. We just took some time to adjust and we finally did."

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Rylie Holzer of Central Cass connects with the ball Friday, June 4, 2021, during the North Dakota State Class B Girls' Softball Tournament at Trapper Field in Jamestown. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The bats were at a standstill for both teams through four innings thanks to standout pitching from the Mavericks' Ginger Savelkoul. Savelkoul, a freshman, was coming off a 15-strikeout performance against Kindred/Richland. Against Lindstrom and the Squirrels, the freshman threw 12 Ks off 107 pitches and surrendered only three walks.

"She's a freshman for God-sakes," Mavericks' head coach Roger Erickson said. "You're not going to find many that throw it like she does. She works at it hard, that's her passion. It's only going to get better."

Lindstrom is one of the few who throws like Savelkoul and it came in clutch for the Squirrels. Lindstrom delivered 12 Ks off 81 pitches in her seven innings tossed. The all-region selection was one hit shy of recording a no-hitter, giving up just one walk.

"We definitely pride ourselves on our defense and I think our defense is what gets us places," Lindstrom said. "Our hitting has come a long way these past three years. It's just worked out for us."

The bats began to come alive in the fifth when Grace Fletschock reached base on an error by first baseman Jordyn Moberg and then stole second. Fletschock advanced again on Savelkoul's walk of Barbara Prante and stayed at third with the freshman's intentional walk of Tori Richter.

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The loaded-base scene brought up Rylee Holzer who was 0-for-2 in her first two appearances. A line drive by Holzer and a mental mistake by Maddy Johnson sent Fletschock and pinch-runner Taylor Siverson home to make it 2-0 Squirrels.

It was too big of a challenge for the Mavericks with just two innings remaining. The Squirrels clinched the win after Lindstrom caught an infield fly for out No. 3 in the top of the seventh.

"I like to keep the pace of the game and play at our pace instead of someone else's," Lindstrom said.

Good advice to remember for tomorrow's test against the Tommies.

"We definitely have to win the battle of freebies and I've just got to take it pitch-by-pitch at the mound," Lindstrom said. "They are good hitters so I've just got to work around them (and) I think if we play good defense we'll be fine."

Central Cass 2, Mohall-LS/KB 0

M-LS/KB 000 000 -- 0 1 2

CC 000 020 X -- 2 2 0

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M-LS/KB: Ginger Savelkoul; CC: Aubree Lindstrom. W -- Lindstrom; L -- Savelkoul.

Highlights

M-LS/KB: McKenzie Foltyn 1-2.

CC: Lindstrom (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K); Tori Richter 2-2.

Related Topics: SOFTBALLPREP SPORTS
Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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