Thompson helps power Valley City to first East Region softball championship
WEST FARGO—Valley City junior Becca Thompson couldn't describe what led to her power surge Saturday afternoon.
Thompson belted two home runs to help lift the Hi-Liners to a 9-0 victory against Fargo North for the East Region softball tournament championship at West Fargo Sheyenne.
Thompson blasted five home runs in three region tournament games. She had two home runs during the regular season.
"It's a little out of the ordinary," Thompson said with a laugh. "It was just out of the blue."
The Hi-Liners (15-2) claimed their first region softball championship. The North Dakota High School Activities Association first sponsored the sport in 2009 and the first East Region tournament was in 2012. West Fargo, which has won the past 20 state championships, won the first six East Region tournaments.
"It's awesome to be able to be that first one that's not West Fargo," said Valley City head coach Jason Lindgren.
Valley City freshman Hailey Schaefer threw a four-hit shutout in the championship game, including 10 strikeouts. Schaefer forced a groundout for the game's final out, setting off a Hi-Liners celebration near first base.
Valley City outscored its opponents 43-1 in three region tournament games.
"It means that you can accomplish things that you don't think are possible," Schaefer said. "The impossible is possible."
Valley City will be the No. 1 seed from the East Region for the Class A state tournament, which starts Thursday in Fargo. North, which upset West Fargo in the region semifinals, is the No. 2 seed from the region.
"They're just very, very good," North head coach Scott Carter said of Valley City. "We kept battling trying to scratch something across to try and get a little momentum. It just didn't happen. ... Our effort was great."
Valley City took control in the third inning. Thompson came to the plate with one out and two runners on base. She drove a pitch over the wall in right-center field for a three-run home run that gave the Hi-Liners a 5-0 lead.
"It felt really good because it gave us more confidence in our team," said Thompson, who finished with four RBIs.
"It's tough to come back from," Carter said of the big home run. "When Hailey is pitching as good as she was today, a 2-0 (lead) is pretty safe."
Thompson added a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning that gave Valley City a 6-0 lead.
"She just locked in," Lindgren said. "She's got a beautiful left-handed swing."
Valley City catcher Alexis Ondracek added two RBIs, including a run-scoring double in the second inning and an RBI groundout in the sixth.
"It was a such a blast," Thompson said. "We had so much confidence in Hailey and we knew we could do it. It's such a great feeling to work so hard to be where we are."
FN 000 000 0--0 4 1
VC 023 004 x--9 10 3
Olek, McClary (6) and Egge. Schaefer and Ondracek. W--Schaefer. L--Olek. HR--VC, Thompson 2.