CASSELTON — Enderlin/Maple Valley softball player Abbie Tinjum approached her last at-bat in Thursday’s Class B South Region championship game with one goal in mind — get the ball in play and get the final run needed in the 17-7 win over Central Cass.
“I was thinking that I just needed a base hit because we just need a runner in and I can probably make it to first and beat it out,” Tinjum said.
She did what she needed to, putting a ball on the ground in the infield as teammate Rylee Nudell sprinted from third to home, beating the throw.
The run ended the game in the sixth inning, clinched the first South Region championship in state history and gives the Falcons a No. 1 seed in the first Class B state tournament next weekend.
Immediately following the game, players on both Central Cass and EMV were given their All-Region awards. The ceremony culminated with the presentation of the regional trophy, during which the Falcons sprinted towards home plate, each with a smile on their face.
The whole scene was enough to make EMV coach Neva Hamre a bit emotional.
Hamre helped start Enderlin’s team in 2006, before softball was sanctioned by NDHSAA, and joined Maple Valley in a co-op in 2008.
“We started this seven years ago,” she said, holding back tears. “These are the kids that watched their older siblings play. They’ve wanted it a long time.”
Seemingly, they made it worth the weight.
Despite struggles in the field and on the mound at times, the Falcon offense put together 23 hits.
Of those, Tinjum had five, all singles, scored three runs and was one of four players with three RBI. She used her speed as a constant threat, scoring almost immediately after singling to lead off in the bottom of the first inning.
She later scored again in the second and as part of a seven-run third inning that gave the Falcons an 11-2 lead. EMV seemed poised to win it in five innings but allowed four runs in the top of the fifth and one more in the top of the sixth.
The Class B state tournament begins Thursday in West Fargo.