Last year's Class B state tournament left the Watford City softball team with a bad taste in its mouth heading into the offseason.
The Wolves entered as the top seed in the then-North Division, but were upset in the first round by May-Port-C-G the No. 4 seed in the then-South Division. It didn't get any better for Watford City as it lost its final two games of the tournament, finishing 0-3.
"We learned a lot actually," Watford City coach Devin Langerud said. "It was our first year. They were disappointed we took eighth, but I kept telling them that they were there and I think it sunk in that for the first year in our program we made it to state. A lot of teams wish they were there."
Not only will the Wolves be looking to keep that in the back of their minds, but also the 13-0, five-inning loss they suffered to Westhope-Newburg-Bottineau in the West Region championship on May 20. Langerud said the Wolves were worn out following a hard-fought 6-5 victory over top-seeded Stanley earlier that day.
Now, Watford City faces a team that's had plenty of success at the state tournament: Enderlin-Maple Valley. The No. 3 seed from the East Region won the state title in 2012 and finished second a year ago. The two teams meet today at 6:30 p.m. at South Hill Complex.
"The East teams have way better competition," Langerud said. "They've been playing a lot longer than us West teams over here. Once you go into the state tournament we're all on the same level. Anything can happen."
The key to advancing deep into the state tournament for the Wolves is avoiding the one bad inning that seems to happen each game. Against the Sioux it was a six-run third inning that put the game out of reach.
"Once in a while we get a bad inning and hopefully we can eliminate that," Langerud said. "If we can eliminate that bad inning we will be very, very good."
Watford City has four seniors on its roster: Tori Hopkins, Elise Hadley, Morgan Burd and Tessa Dwyer. Hopkins, Tarynn Jacobson and sophomore Kaytlyn Grimes were named all-region. But Langerud said his team is deeper than just those three.
"I have 10 girls I can put at any position at any time and they are flawless," he said. "Hopefully, we're on. We've been really batting well and playing solid defense."