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Baseball team needs wins to move on

The frustrations continue for the Packer baseball team after a rough week that included losing to Fargo Shanley and getting swept by Fargo South. The team was able to salvage a doubleheader against Wahpeton on May 5, with a 4-0 win in a game that didn't count in the conference standings; normally only the first games of doubleheaders count.

That leaves the Packers, in eighth place in the EDC, scratching their heads with an overall record of 4-14 and a conference mark of 2-8.

Poor fielding continues to plague the team. The Packers committed five errors in a pair of 4-0 losses to the first place Bruins.

"It's frustrating - just some of the plays that are fundamental that we've been doing since little league that they taught us on the first day of practice, those plays are crucial to a game," said senior catcher Johnny Schroeder. "All those plays we should make, because one run could determine the game with the wooden bats."

Results from Monday's scheduled doubleheader against ninth place Valley City were unavailable before press time; the outcome against the Hi-Liners plays a big role in shaping West Fargo's possible postseason future. Losses will require the Packers win most - if not all - of their remaining regular season games (some weather-related makeups) to make the postseason.

"I think we can pull it out," said Schroeder. "I have confidence in our team. If we can finish strong, then we'll do fine."

Charity game for 1st

The wave of weather-related softball cancellations and postponements affected the Packers in a big way - they didn't get to play a single game last week.

A home game against Moorhead and a four-game trip to Minot were weather victims. The Packers play Fargo North at NDSU's Ellig Sports Complex today at 6:15 pm. The game will benefit the FM Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and features breast cancer survivor Amy Ruley - the recent NDSU basketball coach retiree - throwing out the first pitch. Fans are encouraged to donate. Packer and Spartan mothers who have beaten breast cancer will be honored as team captains.

"We thought it would be a nice idea for the girls," said Packers' coach Pat Johnson. "The North coach started it, and we worked on it together to get it going."

The game will serve as more than a charity benefit. The teams were tied with Fargo Shanley for first place atop the EDC at press time.

The Packers (8-5 overall, 7-1 EDC) lost their only game against an in-state opponent to the Spartans last month in a 3-2 matchup that went extra innings.

Senior Ally McCracken will likely get the start against Fargo North. Sophomore Andrea Sluke is coming back from a shoulder injury. Freshman Ally Klug is also fighting an ankle injury. Junior catcher Rebecca Pegg has missed most of the season due to injury and is just returning.

"We have little nagging things here or there," said Johnson. "I think we took a poll and had four healthy bodies. No one is feeling sorry for us though, so we don't need to complain about it."

Sophomore right fielder Lindsey Levin is hitting above .500 on the year, while freshman Kacee Johnson is hitting around .490. A handful of others are hitting over .300.

Tennis heads into EDC

The Packer girls' tennis team did its best to attune for an early month loss to Fargo South this past week with wins over Wahpeton, Fargo Shanley and Dickinson. West Fargo lost to favored Bismarck Century last week as well.

The Packers needed a boost after losing 7-2 to Fargo South on May 1 - a team the Packers beat last season with many of the same players.

"Things are looking pretty good right now," said senior Sadie Doggett. "We're working hard in practice. We have been ready to play and mentally prepared to come out strong right away. That's something we lacked against South."

The anticipated West Fargo Invitational, scheduled for last Saturday, was cancelled due to weather and won't be made up. The annual event, coordinated by Packers' coach Chad Anderson, is played throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area and is larger than the state tournament.

West Fargo (5-3 overall, 4-2 EDC) was tied at press time for second place in the EDC with Fargo North going into the two-team's matchup early this week. The winner gets the No. 2 seed going into the conference tournament, which starts today in Grand Forks. The Packers took second at last season's EDC tournament - an all-time school best.

Field event victors

The West Fargo boys' and girls' track teams had strong showings at the Fargo Rotary, in which several individuals had outstanding performances.

Transfer student April Andersson broke her own Packer school record in winning the pole vault and also set a meet record with a vault of 10-foot-6.

"She spends a lot of time in practice with vaulting," said Packer coach Darin McKinnon. "She's going to be one of the last out there at practice, and it's paying off for her."

Junior thrower Cody Mammenga won the Rotary with a shot put of 52-01. McKinnon said Mammenga, already of the state's best, has potential to keep improving.

"He's got a lot more in him," said the coach. "All you need is that one to win, and he's right up there with everybody else. I think he's got 54, 55. He's definitely a big, strong kid that's built for the shot."

Sophomore Ellie Grooters - a four time state champ last season - continued her domination of the competition at the Rotary with wins in the 300 hurdles, 100 hurdles and 200.

See the scoreboard for other Packer winners.

Golfers finish 8th

The Packer boys' golf team finished in eighth place in the nine-team Fargo North Invite on May 5. No West Fargo golfers shot under an 83.

Packer of the Week...

...will not be watered down for variety's sake, so for the third time in the last four weeks, it goes to Ellie Grooters (three more track titles in a big meet).