ABERDEEN, S.D. – Valley City State (N.D.) used a three-run offensive production in the top third inning and held Dickinson State (N.D.) scoreless in the last six innings for a 6-3 Game 2 victory, forcing a decisive Game 3 of the North Star Athletic Association Softball Championship Series at Players Softball Complex.
The best-of-three series is tied at 1-1 (Dickinson State won the first game 5-0).
VCSU jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning after Cejay Hilhorst smashed a 2-run home run over the left field fence.
The Blue Hawks would answer back after plating three runs in the bottom first frame. McKenzie Kenobbie led off with a single. Alex Vargas reached on base by a walk and advanced Kenobbie to second. Brianna Grayson added a walk to set up a bases loaded situation for DiSU.
Mckenna Kostelecky hit bases-clearing 3-RBI double as Dickinson State earned a 3-2 lead in the bottom first inning.
The Vikings regained their lead in the top third inning after scoring three runs. Katarina Boychuk hit a single with one out and swiped to second base. She added another stolen base to third base. Kelsey Hamade reached on base caused by DiSU's defensive error, allowing Boychuk to score as VCSU knotted the game at 3-3.
Katie Cameron drilled an RBI triple to deep right field to score Cameron as the Vikings grabbed a 4-3 lead. VCSU made it 5-3 after Hilhorst produced an RBI sacrifice fly.
Valley City State scored once in the top fifth inning caused by Blue Hawk's defensive miscue (VCSU leads 6-3).
Dickinson State stranded a runner on third base in the bottom sixth inning, despite a triple by Kostelecky with one out.
Hilhorst had a home run and drove in three runs for the Vikings. Cameron added a triple and an RBI. Cassie Pautz had two singles. Hamade registered a hit and an RBI. Boychuk had a hit.
Boychuk swiped two bases for Valley City State.
Ashley Metcalf started the game for VCSU. She pitched in the first inning and allowed three runs on two hits. Nalley (W, 22-6) earned the victory after tossing six scoreless innings. She limited the Blue Hawks to just two hits.
Kostelecky went 2-of-3 at the plate with a triple, double and earned three RBIs for Dickinson State. McKenzie Kenobbie added two singles.
Alexzandria Watson (L, 24-3) suffered its first loss in the tournament in the pitching circle for DiSU. She allowed five runs (one unearned) on five hits. Abi Brooks worked for four innings in relief, giving up an unearned run on one hit.
Game 3 will be decided for the NSAA's automatic bid to the NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round. First pitch is set in approximately 30-45 minutes with the Vikings being the home team and the Blue Hawks as the visitor team.
Nick Huntimer, North Star Athletic Association Sports Information Director