ABERDEEN, S.D. – Top-seeded Dickinson State (N.D.) continued to use their combination of fast start and strong pitching dominance by Alex Watson, propelling to a 5-0 victory in the first game of the North Star Athletic Association Softball Championship Game Best-of-Three series at Players Softball Complex Sunday afternoon.
The Blue Hawks grabbed its first lead of the game in the bottom first frame by scoring two runs. Monique Yslas and Alex Vargas hit back-to-back singles, followed by Brianna Grayson hit-by-pitch to set up a bases loaded situation. McKenzie Bassett reached safely on base after VCSU's defensive error to score Kenobbie for 1-0 DiSU lead.
Mckenna Kostelecky added an RBI single to score Vargas as Dickinson State extended their lead to 2-0.
Valley City State was unable to score in the top second inning as they left runners on first and second bases from Cejay Hilhorst's and Cassie Pautz's singles.
Vargas blasted a 3-run home run in the bottom second frame as the Blue Hawks' lead grew to 5-0.
Neither team was able to score for the rest of the game. VCSU went 1-2-3 in the final inning, ending their 10-game winning streak.
Alexzandria Watson (W, 24-2) extended her scoreless innings to 15 innings as she tossed another complete seven-inning game. She allowed five singles and struck out eight VCSU's batters in the game.
Vargas went 2-of-2 at the plate with a home run, single and drove in three runs. She also reached on base by a walk twice. Yslas added two singles. Kenobbie, Kostelecky and Shannen Donnelly each recorded a hit.
Kelsey Hamade, Hilhorst, Kelli Moore, Pautz and Tatum Lundin all hit a single for the Vikings.
VCSU used three pitchers in the game, starting with Morgan Nalley (L, 21-6) where she recorded the loss. She worked for one-plus inning and gave up two runs (one unearned) on three hits. Kathleen Gallais worked for two innings in relief and allowed three runs (one unearned) on one hit. Ashley Metcalf tossed three scoreless innings and struck out three Blue Hawks hitters.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Valley City State will need to win Game 2 to force the decisive Game 3 on Monday morning at 11 a.m. If Dickinson State win, the Blue Hawks will qualify for the NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round on May 16-18.
Nick Huntimer, North Star Athletic Association Sports Information Director