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DSU rips HRs to power over Jamestown

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson State sophomore Janell LaRont hits a single in the first inning against Jamestown College on Sunday at Gress Softball Complex.

The Dickinson State softball team has found its power at the plate.

During the four-game weekend series with Jamestown College, the Blue Hawks racked up 13 home runs from six different players.

DSU used the home run stroke to take a Sunday sweep against the Jimmies, 9-7 and 18-5, at Gress Softball Complex.

"We came together when we needed to," DSU senior Taysia Kaufman said. "We got hits when we needed to. We got big hits, little hits and did the little things right."

With the added power, the Blue Hawks are now above .500 at 14-13 for the first time since a four-game win streak (10-8) during the Tucson (Ariz.) Invitational in mid-March.

The Blue Hawks had a rush of power from No. 9 batter Justeena Gutierrez. The freshman from Kasier, Calif., went 6-for-8 with three home runs, eight RBIs and two doubles in four games.

"She surprised everyone," Kaufman said with a laugh. "It was pretty cool."

Alex Vargas, a freshman from Riverside, Calif., added four home runs and 12 RBIs on the weekend, while Janell LaRont supplied three home runs and nine RBIs.

Up and down the lineup, the Blue Hawks didn't have any trouble hitting. DSU had a total of 31 hits on Sunday and got solid outings from LaRont, Kaufman and Regan Lawrence in the pitcher's circle.

"If you are having an off day in the field, you can make an error, because your pitchers are throwing strikes and your offense is scoring runs," LaRont said.

In the Sunday opener, the Blue Hawks and Jimmies traded runs until the sixth inning. That's when Vargas and Rebecca Lopez tattooed back-to-back solo home runs to ensure a win.

However, in the second game on Sunday, DSU struck quick and often. The Blue Hawks scored seven runs in the first and eight in the third to run away with an 18-5 five-inning win.

"It's really relieving to have the bats coming around, because we've been struggling at the plate a little bit," LaRont said.

Gutierrez, LaRont, Vargas and Claudia Torres all supplied home runs in the win. LaRont pitched five innings, allowing five runs and striking out one.

The Blue Hawks continue their season by traveling to Montana State-Billings for a doubleheader 2 p.m. Wednesday.

"You never know how the day goes, so you just have to take it one inning at a time," Kaufman said. "We got confidence finally and everyone trusts each other throughout the lineup."

JC 002 230 0 -- 7 14 1

DSU 201 402 x -- 9 13 4

DJ Johnson, Emily Snow (4) and K Michaud. Taysia Kaufman, Regan Lawrence (5) and Aubrey Ayala. W-Lawrence. L-Snow. HR-DSU, Alex Vargas and Rebecca Lopez.

Highlights: JC, Courtney Van Den Bussche 1-for-4, run; Allison Roper 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; Kate Johnson 2-for-4, RBI, run; Michaud 3-for-3, run; Kelsie DeBroeck 2-for-4, run; Celene Eccles 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, run. DSU, Janell LaRont 3-for-4, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Vargas 2-for-4, HR, RBI, run; Lopez 2-for-3, HR, 3 RBIs, run; Kaufman 1-for-2, 2 runs; Nicole Lobato 1-for-3, 2 RBIs; Claudia Torres 1-for-2; Kristy Ortiz 1-for-3.

JC 302 00 -- 5 7 0

DSU 728 1x -- 18 18 0

Snow, DJ Johnson (1), Mandy Theissen (4) and Michaud. LaRont and Torres. W-LaRont. L-Snow. HR-JC, Sarah Heinemann, K. Johnson. DSU, Justeena Gutierrez, LaRont, Torres, Vargas.

Highlights: JC, K. Johnson 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Heinemann 1-for-2, HR, 3 RBIs, run; Roper 1-for-3, 2 runs; DeBroeck 1-for-2; Hattie Fullmer 1-for-2. DSU, LaRont 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Lopez 3-for-3, 2 RBIs, run; Monique Yslas 2-for-4, 2 runs; Kaufman 1-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Vargas 1-for-4, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Lobato 2-for-3, 2 runs; Gutierrez 3-for-3, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Torres 2-for-3, 3 RBIs, 2 runs.

Records: JC 10-10, DSU 14-13