By Tyler Shoberg
Seven games - two of which are against conference foes - and less than two weeks separate the No. 1 West Fargo softball team from the postseason and a possible date with destiny.
The Packers, undefeated in Eastern Dakota Conference play and 19-2 overall, are gunning for a 15th consecutive state championship.
But new this year will be the chance to begin another streak at the conference level. While past state tournaments relied on regular-season standings, 2012 marks the beginning of East Region and West Region tournaments as deciding who earns a right in the grand finale.
The EDC tournament takes place May 24, which means precious time remains to shore up top seeding. West Fargo currently appears to be a solid bet for the No. 1 spot.
The Packers continued their success last week with four straight wins, beginning Tuesday with a 10-0 thumping over Fargo North, the No. 2 team in the EDC. Brittany Rheault was stifling, and gave up just two hits in the shutout.
On Thursday, West Fargo swept visiting Bemidji (Minn.) High School in a pair of 11-1 contest. Jolene Woodbury and Rheault each chalked up wins on the mound.
The Packers grabbed their fifth straight win Friday after defeating Devils Lake 19-0 on the road. Rheault gave up just five hits on the night, while teammate Lexi Lennon snagged her first home run of the season.
Part of the Packers' punch stems from their pitching control. Rheault boasts a 13-1 record, a meager 0.91 earned runs average, and 115 strikeouts. Woodbury has 6-1 record and 48 strikeouts, while delivering a 1.67 ERA.
West Fargo has offensive finesse, too. Sydney Greenlund leads her team with 34 hits, 13 doubles, a pair of homers, 33 runs batted in and a .500 batting average.
Other big hitters, in no particular order, include Ashley Sather (2 HRs, 3 triples, 22 RBIs), Katie Woodbury (29 hits, .433 BA, 24 RBIs), Brook Rheault (team-high 35 runs, .438 BA, 17 RBIs), Jolene Woodbury (30 runs, .414 BA, 20 RBIs, 1 HR), and Lennon (34 hits, .507 BA, 32 RBIs).
The Packers continue toward their season's end with a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday at Fargo Shanley (6-3 EDC, 9-6). On Friday, they host Minnesota's Thief River Falls and Marshall County Central at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., respectively.