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Midgets softball splits with Lions, earns share of WDA title

Dickinson High senior Sarah Dobitz swings at a pitch against Minot Bishop Ryan on Thursday at the North Softball Complex. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

With a split against Minot Bishop Ryan on Thursday, the Dickinson High softball team earned a share of the West Region regular season title.

With a sweep, the Midgets would have had the top seed, but with a split, Dickinson will share the title with the Lions and Bismarck Century.

But after losing Thursday's first game 9-3 at the North Softball Complex, the Midgets were on the verge of dropping the second game as well.

Leading since the second inning, the Lions scored twice in the fifth inning to tie the nightcap at 3-3. It stayed that way until a soft single off the bat of Julie Knight died right in front of second base, a hit just far and hard enough to score Kayla Friske from third base for the winning run in a 4-3 affair.

"As a batter, it's nice to see your teammates in front of you get all their hits down and they get on base," Knight said. "It's a relief to know you have runners on base to hit around."

Friske had led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk, and Amber Sickler followed that with a sacrifice bunt that ended up as a hit after three Lions converged on the ball and nobody covered first base. Paige Schweitzer then sacrificed to Lions pitcher Annika Stewart, and Knight came through with the winning hit.

"We got two bunts down and did the little things right. Doing the little things is what's going to win us games," Dickinson head coach Amanda Mickey said. "We just need to do the little things right on defense."

The Midgets (20-8) committed a combined nine errors in the doubleheader, but none were more detrimental than in the first inning of the first game, when a pair of miscues opened the door for a three-run inning for the visitors.

Dickinson got two runs back in the second inning as Bailey Jahner scored on an error and Knight scored on a passed ball, but Bishop Ryan (19-9) added another run in the third inning and five more runs in the fifth and sixth combined.

"I think the emotions got the best of some of us, I can definitely say that for myself," said Sarah Dobitz, one of five seniors playing their final games at home. "That's just one of those situations that you learn from. You have to suck it up and play your best game. ... Pulling off that second win was really important."

Dobitz and Kennedy Kuntz tallied Dickinson's only two hits in the first game. Bishop Ryan's Emma Garber walked two and struck out five but had three errors behind her, leading to two of her runs being unearned. Dickinson's Abby Jones allowed six hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Four errors by the Midgets defense led to four of Jones' nine runs being unearned.

In the second game, RBI hits from Jones and Dobitz gave Dickinson a 2-1 lead in the second inning. Kuntz hit an RBI double in the fourth inning to score Dobitz for a 3-1 lead.

Emma Passa hit a two-run single in the fifth inning to tie the game for the Lions, but they would get no more.

Amber Sickler earned the win from the circle in the second game, scattering three hits and striking out eight and walking one in seven innings of work.

Starting next Thursday, Dickinson will be in Jamestown for the West Region tournament as the No. 3 seed, behind top-seeded Bishop Ryan and second-seeded Century.

"It's not the position that we wanted from the get-go, but it's not bad," Dobitz said. "These games are important but when it really matters is when it comes down to the tournament."

Bishop Ryan 9, Dickinson High 3

BR 301 023 0 — 9 6 3

DHS 020 000 1 — 3 2 4

BR: Emma Garber (7.0) and Hailee Jundt. DHS: Abby Jones (7.0) and Jordie McNeilly.

W—Garber. L—Jones. HR—None.

Highlights: BR, Sealy Rovig 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI; Emma Passa 1-4, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI; Jundt 1-2, 3B, 1 RBI; Garber 7 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 5 K, 2 BB. DHS, Sarah Dobitz 1-3; Kennedy Kuntz 1-3; Jones 7 IP, 6 H, 9 R (5 ER), 6 K, 3 BB.

Dickinson High 4, Bishop Ryan 3

BR 010 020 0 — 3 3 1

DHS 020 100 1 — 4 6 5

BR: Annika Stewart (6.1) and Hailee Jundt. DHS: Amber Sickler (7.0) and Jordie McNeilly.

W—Sickler. L—Stewart. HR—None.

Highlights: BR, Emma Passa 1-3, 2 RBI; Jundt 1-3; Eden Kramer 1-3; McKinlee Harmon 1 R; Stewart 6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 6 K, 8 BB. DHS, Abby Jones 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI; Sarah Dobitz 2-3, 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI; Kennedy Kuntz 1-3, 2B, 1 RBI; Julie Knight 1-4, 1 RBI; Sickler 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 8 K, 1 BB.

Parker Cotton

Cotton is the sports editor at The Press, where he covers the area's high schools. He came to The Press as the Multimedia Editor in May 2015 after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with his master's degree in Sociological Practice. He holds undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Sociology from UNC, as well.