Firebirds topple Riders 4-2 for third place at state

Ray Maloney, Sports

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The most successful season in Devils Lake High School softball history went into the record books on Saturday.

Just one day after seeing their dream of a state championship come to an end with a 10-5 loss to Century in a semifinal game the Firebirds overcame an early 2-0 deficit with four unanswered runs to defeat Grand Forks Red River 4-2 in the third-place game at the state tournament at Grand Forks’ Apollo Park.

Devils Lake’s Alexis Fee and Autumn Wang were both chosen to the all-state team following the tournament and DLHS coach Kayla Frappier was honored as coach of the year in North Dakota.

The Roughriders got to Devils Lake pitcher Alexis Fee for two runs in the third inning to take the early lead.

But the Firebirds responded with two runs of their own in the fifth inning to tie the game and then added single runs in each of the next two frames to secure the win.

A key double play by the Firebirds in the sixth inning also proved to be instrumental in securing the victory.

Red River had put two runners in scoring position and were threatening to tie the game. But that threat was ended when Firebird catcher Samone Motley rifled a throw to Alexis Fleener to get the second out of the inning. Fleener’s throw back to Motley at the plate was in time to tag out another runner to end the inning and the threat by the Roughriders.

“That double play to end the inning was a game changer,” said Frappier, whose team finished the season at 15-5.

West Fargo earned its 14th straight state championship with a 7-2 win over Century in Saturday’s title game. The Packers have also won all three state championships since softball became sanctioned by the North Dakota High School Activities Association in 2009.

Minot Ryan defeated Valley City 6-4 in the consolation championship, while Fargo Shanley, which lost to Devils Lake in Thursday’s opening round, defeated Fargo North 7-1 in the seventh-place game on Saturday.

Maddie Eriksson, Alexis Fleener and Sarah Johnson joined Fee and Wang on the all-region team, while Eriksson, like Fee and Wang, was chosen to the All-EDC team.

Third Place Game

Devils Lake        0 0 0 0 2 1 1   —   4   5   2

GF Red River     0 0 2 0 0 0 0   —   2   8   2

WP: Alexis Fee. LP: Rachel Koopman.

Highlights: Devils Lake: Jenny Mertens, 2B, Miriah Yoder 1-for-2. Red River: Taylor Bye 3-for-3, Rachel Koopman 2-for-3.

Friday’s Semifinal Game

Devils Lake        0 0 0 4 0 1 0   —   5   7   5

Century             1 2 0 3 3 1 x   —  10 12   3

WP: Sarah Lardy. LP: Fee.

Highlights: Devils Lake: Sarah Johnson 2-for-4; Alexis Fee 2-for-4,2B, 2 RBI; Alexis Fleener 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI.

All-State Team

Century: Kasandra Cariveau, Sarah Lardy. Devils Lake: Alexis Fee, Autumn Wang. Dickinson: Brianna Farnsworth, Mackee Hoffman. Fargo North: Mara Teschendorf. Fargo Shanley: Hillary Rotunda, Dayton Schwan. Grafton: Samantha Dvorak. Grand Forks Red River: Rachel Koopman, Catherine Dorsher. Minot: Taylor Wilkerson. Minot Ryan:  Hannah Stewart. Valley City: Paige Branvold. West Fargo: Kacie Johnson, Danielle Nelson, Brook Rheault.

Senior Athlete of the Year

Kacie Johnson, West Fargo

Coach of the Year

Kayla Frappier, Devils Lake