Softball | Mon, May 7, 2018 at 4:35 PM
ABERDEEN, S.D. – A lengthy weekend tournament for both teams ended on Sunday afternoon as the Blue Hawks of Dickinson State soared over the Jimmies of the University of Jamestown to claim the 2018 NSAA Conference title. The Blue Hawks defeated the Jimmies 1-0 from Players Field in Aberdeen, S.D. to claim their first conference title since the 2016 season when they defeated Valley City State in a three game series.
It wasn't until the top of the third inning when the Blue Hawks struck for the only run of the game. After a pitching change by the Jimmies, DiSU's Rayleen Ortiz reached base off a hit-by-pitch by UJ's Kat Miska. Abi Brooks entered the game to pinch run for Ortiz and advanced to third base after back-to-back singles by Kayla Stephens and Jordan Menke. With the bases loaded with one out, DiSU's Sarah Dobitz reached first on a fielder's choice as Brooks was forced out at home. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Andrea Rodriguez drew a bases loaded walk to bring home Kayla Stephens for the 1-0 lead.
The following four innings remained scoreless until the Jimmie's best chance of tying things up was in the bottom of the seventh inning. The thrilling game ended as UJ's Kelly Halverson hit the ball to shallow right field when the ball popped out of DiSU's second baseman Sarah Dobitz's glove into teammate's Rachael Dillon's glove for the third and final out of the game.
Although the Jimmies outhit Dickinson 6-5 it was not enough to come away with the conference title. Of the team's six hits, Meghan Ramage connected for two hits to lead the team. Teammates Emma Keller, Tifani Schorzman, Sydney Prussia, and Miriah Yoder tallied the final four hits in the loss.
Kayla Stephens led the Blue Hawks offensively going 2-for-4 with the only run scored. Seventh inning hero Rachel Dillon added a hit of her own, while Jordan Menke and Andrea Rodriguez counted for the final two hits.
With the win, Dickinson State (28-19 overall) claimed the conference's automatic bid to the NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round, which will be held on the campus sites announced by the NAIA national office in the upcoming days.