Ty's Take: West Fargo spring sports explode out of the starting gate
If there is anything to be said about starting out on the right foot, then several West Fargo sports certainly are headed in the right direction.
Packers baseball is sitting pretty at 4-0 after sweeping Fargo North on Monday, April 5, and Fargo Shanley on Thursday, April 8.
Meanwhile, the defending State Champion West Fargo softball team picked up right where it left off last season by defeating Central Cass last Tuesday, before going 3-1 during a weekend furlough to Bismarck for the East-West Crossover.
The final track and field indoor meet Saturday resulted in second-place finishes for both girls and boys West Fargo teams. After a strong indoor season, they should be primed and ready to fire once the outdoor season kicks off at 2 p.m. Friday in Moorhead.
Baseball blasts away
West Fargo baseball coach Brett Peterson had a pretty optimistic feeling going into the season even before the first pitch had been thrown.
But after four dominating victories over two conference rivals, even he may have underestimated the Packers' punch.
"Usually, you're kind of ironing out the kinks this time of year," Peterson said. "But from Game 1 of the first series, we played really well."
Peterson also pointed to the uncharacteristically nice weather in lending a helping hand.
"Last year, it took time to get things rolling, mostly because we didn't start until so late," he said. "This weather has been priceless. We had 6-7 practices on the field before the season."
Senior pitcher Matt Stahm started the snowball last Monday, when he struck out 15 batters and combined for a no-hitter with teammate Tanner Dahl in a 7-0 win over Fargo North. During the second game, Austin Horsager led the charge when he went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple.
"Horsager is batting ninth, so he's kind of our second leadoff hitter. He's fast," Peterson said.
The Packers carried that momentum into Thursday's two-game series against Fargo North. Senior standout Spencer Flaten carried the torch this round, racking up six runs through the series in wins of 11-1 and 12-2.
During Game 1, Jacob Kiefer also drove in three runs for West Fargo, and in Game 2, Strahm hit a home run and drove in three runs.
Peterson said the experience of his varsity players is definitely showing through.
"They have another year under their belt, and that kind of helps. ... I think they're rubbing off on the other players," he said.
Peterson admitted that, even though his team started out on a hot streak, "it's still early."
The early wins "build confidence if nothing else," he said. "What we really saw and liked was improvement from one game to the next. That's going to be what we're talking about all year."
The Packers attempted to continue their streak Tuesday at home against Fargo South, but the results were not in by press time. West Fargo's next game is 5 p.m., Friday, at home against Devils Lake. Then, the Packers head to Marshall, Minn., for a two-game tournament.
Nothing soft about softball
West Fargo softball isn't traipsing through the daisies as it attempts to defend a State Title for the 13th straight year.
The Packers (4-1) got the ball rolling Tuesday, picking up a 12-0 rout over Central Cass in a game that ended in four innings.
West Fargo then headed to Bismarck to participate in the East-West Crossover. The Packers dominated two games, blanking Dickinson 11-0 and Minot 14-0.
But they faced some stiff competition in their second game of the day, losing 4-3 to Bismarck.
Leading the Packers over the Magicians was senior Kacie Johnson, who homered twice while scoring six runs. Shannah Plehal put up two RBIs and two runs to spark West Fargo against Dickinson.
West Fargo faced Grand Forks Red River on Tuesday, but the results were not in by press time. The Packers play again at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Enderlin.
Three Packer sports have yet to start their seasons.
Girls soccer had its opener Tuesday at Fargo South, but the results were not in by press time.
Boys golf and girls tennis begin soon. West Fargo's boys golf team has its first meet Monday, April 19, at Kings Walk Golf Course in Grand forks. Packers girls tennis begins shortly after, as they face Fargo Shanley on the road Tuesday, April 20, at 4 p.m.