Hillsboro-Central Valley rallies for dramatic win in Class B state softball quarterfinals
Hillsboro-Central Valley’s Noella Kritzberger, left, and Mattie Matthys celebrate their defeat of Velva-Drake-Anamoose during their North Dakota Class B Softball Tournament game Thursday, May 30, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — Hillsboro-Central Valley junior Saige Forseth was in the pitching circle for the dramatic final moments Thursday at Tharaldson Park.

Sophomore Noella Kritzberger tagged out a Velva-Drake-Anamoose runner at third base for the game's final out as the Burros rallied for an 8-7 victory in the opening round of the North Dakota Class B state softball tournament.

"My heart just stopped and when the ump finally called her out, relief just spilled all over me and I couldn't be happier," said Forseth, who came on in relief of Kritzberger in the sixth inning.


The Burros (13-9) scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to overcome a 7-5 deficit. Hillsboro-Central Valley plays defending state champion Central Cass at 4 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals.

Hillsboro-Central Valley’s Saige Forseth slides home behind Velva-Drake-Anamoose’s Ryan Bodine during their North Dakota Class B Softball Tournament game Thursday, May 30, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

"These girls are fighters," Burros head coach Cory Erickson said. "All season long they've been battling back, even when the odds have been against them."

Central Cass swept the Burros in a regular-season doubleheader at the end of April.

"It's a second chance for us," Forseth said. "With this win, we have a ton of confidence going in. I know we can give Casselton a good game."

Mattie Matthys and MacKenzie Iverson started the Hillsboro-Central Valley seventh-inning rally with back-to-back hits. Forseth drove in a run on a fielder's choice to cut the Aggies lead to 7-6. Iverson scored from second base off a delayed double steal and throwing error to tie the score at 7-7.

Nicole Hurt then knocked in Forseth from third base with an RBI groundout for an 8-7 lead.


Hillsboro-Central Valley had tied the game in the sixth inning with two runs. Third baseman Molly Knutsvig sparked the rally with an RBI single that scored Kritzberger. MJ Pruneda later scored on a wild pitch that made the score 5-5.

Velva-Drake-Anamoose took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth inning. A two-out, two-run single from Kaylee Blumhagen gave the Aggies a 7-5 lead heading into the final inning.

"These girls don't have any quit in them," Erickson said. "I'm so proud of the fight that we had today."

Erickson said his team is primed for a rematch with Central Cass.

"They've got a great team," Erickson said. "But right now we're just happy that we won that first one. Hopefully, we can bring some momentum into (Friday) evening."

HCV 200 102 3-8 7 2

VDA 121 012 0-7 4 1

Kritzberger, Forseth (6) and Ensign. O. Passa and R. Bodine. W-Forseth. L-O. Passa.


Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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