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Butterfield: a pitching staple

Senior Haley Butterfield remembers the first time she stepped in the varsity pitching circle.

She was a seventh-grader and the Dickinson High softball team was getting blown out by Glasgow, Mont.

Though the Midgets lost the game, Butterfield was happy just to be playing.

“I remember after the game everyone was mad because they hammered us, but I was just excited I got to play my first varsity game,” she said with a smile. “That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Butterfield’s teammate senior Rachel Jahner also received her first varsity playing time during the game against Glasgow.

“We got killed like 24-0 or something like that,” Jahner said. “I remember I hit the ball to the shortstop and I started running. The only mistakes they made, they misthrew it and it hit me in the helmet. It was funny.”

The days of losing by large margins are gone. The Midgets enter the North Dakota state softball tournament with a 26-5 record and the No. 2 seed from the West Region.

Dickinson’s five losses all came against Minot Ryan, the No. 1 seed from the West. The Lions defeated the Midgets 1-0 in the West Region Championship game on Saturday.

Dickinson’s first round opponent is Fargo North, the No. 3 seed from the East. They play at 3:30 p.m. today in Minot.

“We are as ready as we are going to be,” Dickinson head coach Bill Butterfield said. “They proved in the championship game at the WDA. Everybody from top to bottom had a stellar performance.”

One of Dickinson’s staples over the last four years has been Haley Butterfield. The senior, who is committed to playing softball at Bismarck State College in the fall, has been the team’s No. 1 starter the past three years.

Butterfield closed out the regular season and West Region Tournament with a 16-2 record and a 1.71 earned run average. She struck out 103 over 102Z\c innings.

“It has been fun to watch her develop through the years and go through the stages of pitching,” said Bill Butterfield, her head coach and father. “She’s learned a lot about the game. It has been nice that she has had six years in the program.”

Dickinson’s No. 2 pitcher, sophomore Madison Jahner, said it has been a blessing to throw alongside Butterfield for the past three years. Jahner came in as a reliever during her eighth-grade season.

Jahner has a 10-3 record with a 1.10 ERA and 102 strikeouts over 82X\c innings.

“It definitely comes down to comfort in the circle,” Jahner said. “If you are comfortable and confident in the circle, you are going to do well. Haley gives you some of that. She gives confident and she’s always there. If you are struggling, she’s going to take care of the job.”

Though her father is the head coach, Butterfield knows he is going to teach her like every other player.

She admitted he might even be a little tougher on her.

“He knows he can be harder on me than anyone else, because he won’t hurt my feelings,” Butterfield said with a smile. “It’s pretty cool that he’s the coach while we are playing the game, but he’s also my dad when the game is over.”

The Midgets have reached the state tournament the past three seasons. Their highest placement was last season when they took third. The year before, they placed fifth.

Though Dickinson has placed higher each season, the team isn’t looking at the championship game right now.

The Midgets’ main priority is Fargo North.

“We are just taking it one game at a time and we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves,” Butterfield said. “We are trying to maintain our focus and consistency going into the state tournament.”