Photo credit by Cody Welu
MADISON, S.D. – No. 2 seed Dickinson State (N.D.) came from the loser's bracket of the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Softball Conference Tournament with another elimination victory, rolling to a 12-2 6-inning win over No. 3 seed Valley City State (N.D.) Friday afternoon at Thue Softball Complex. The Blue Hawks ended VCSU's postseason run, finishing their overall record at 24-22.
Dickinson State went on another fast start in the opening inning. The Blue Hawks opened up the game with a single by Rebecca Lopez and advanced to second base after McKenzie Kenobbie's sacrifice bunt. Alex Vargas hit an RBI single to score Lopez for DiSU's first lead of the game at 1-0.
Janell LaRont added an RBI double to score Vargas to make it 2-0 in favor of Dickinson State in the first inning. Brianna Grayson recorded an RBI sacrifice fly to score LaRont for Blue Hawks' 3-0 lead.
With bases loaded and no outs situation in the top second inning, Vargas earned an RBI walk for 4-0 DiSU lead. The Blue Hawks made it 5-0 after Claudio Torres drilled an RBI double.
Valley City State, who defeated Dickinson State 5-0 in the winner's bracket Friday night, did not record their first hits of the game until the bottom fourth inning with a pair of singles by Savannah McMillin and Mackenzie Hamre. The Vikings were unable to convert their scoring opportunities.
Dickinson State exploded for seven runs in the top sixth innings as their lead grew to 12-0, highlighted by a 3-run home run by Vargas. The Blue Hawks collected seven hits in the inning, including five singles and a double.
The Vikings ended their scoring drought with a pair of runs scored in the bottom sixth frame. Taylor Schroeder and Cassie Pautz hit back-to-back RBI singles to cut DiSU's lead to 12-2, but the Blue Hawks secured a spot in the championship game versus No. 1 seed Jamestown (N.D.).
Vargas went 3-of-3 at the plate with a home run, two singles and earned a game-high five RBIs for Dickinson State. Lopez added a double, two singles and an RBI. Monique Yslas, Kenobbie and Torres each had two singles. LaRont and Regan Lawrence each had a hit.
Hamre recorded a double and a single for Valley City State. Schroeder and Pautz each had a single and produced an RBI. Katarina Boychuk and McMillin each had a hit.
DiSU outhit VCSU 14-6 in the game. The Blue Hawks left eight runners on base compared to the Vikings seven runners left on base.
Lawrence (21-5) tossed a complete game victory for Dickinson State. She gave up two runs on six hits. She recorded six strikeouts.
Ashley Metcalf (4-7) recorded the loss as she started the game for Valley City State. She gave up three runs on three hits in 1/3 inning. Kathlee Gallais worked for 2/3 inning and allowed two runs on two hits. She issued four walks. Lindsey White pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits. Morgan Nalley pitched the last two outs of the top sixth inning, allowing three runs on three hits.
The top two teams – Jamestown (36-12) and Dickinson State (39-10) – are set to clash in the NSAA Softball Championship game Sunday afternoon at Thue Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director