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Different challenges, same Abrahamson

It's hard to imagine that the Dickinson State softball team has just three seniors. It's even more difficult to comprehend the Blue Hawks' success this season when realizing only one of those seniors is a full-time starter.

It's hard to imagine that the Dickinson State softball team has just three seniors. It's even more difficult to comprehend the Blue Hawks' success this season when realizing only one of those seniors is a full-time starter.

Then again, it's tricky to picture what next year's team will be like without senior second baseman Danielle Abrahamson.

"There's no doubt in her leadership," DSU coach Guy Fridley said.

The Calgary, Alberta, native has graced the Blue Hawks with much-needed leadership - and an ever-present smile - since she arrived as a transfer from Iowa Western Community College in the fall of 2006.

In just two seasons, Abrahamson has managed to stand out on teams packed with talent.

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Abrahamson has batted .384 with 34 RBI, seven doubles, two triples and a home run during 36 regular-season games. Last year, she hit .374 with 49 RBI and five home runs in 40 games.

"I'd say Danielle has certainly been consistent throughout the year," Fridley said.

However, even though her numbers have dipped, Fridley's decision to move Abrahamson from the cleanup spot to the No. 5 hole has helped the Blue Hawks produce runs - three and four hitters Nikki Marcoux and Jody Lantz have combined for 15 homers - and the senior has accepted that.

"This year, it's a little bit different," Abrahamson said. "... Following back-to-back home runs every third game isn't the easiest thing to follow up. I'm doing the best I can out there. I'm more of a consistent hitter this year than a power hitter."

While she moved into a less targeted position in the lineup, Abrahamson switched to one the most treacherous positions on the diamond.

The loss of several seniors left gaps in the infield and Abrahamson, who played infield at Iowa Western, was the logical choice to fill an empty hole either shortstop or second base.

"The game in the infield is a lot quicker pace, but it wasn't as bad of an adjustment as people might think," Abrahamson said.

However, it took a few games at shortstop before Abrahamson finally settled in at second base. Since then, she's been nearly flawless. Four of the five errors Abrahamson has committed this season came in the first seven games when she was playing shortstop.

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"Moving from the outfield to the infield is a big change, especially not having to take any ground balls on the dirt," Abrahamson said.

However, the move paid off brilliantly toward the end of the regular season.

Fridley believes Abrahamson's presence helped keep the team's young infield from capsizing when errors began to spike and played a part in DSU entering Saturday's Dakota Athletic Conference tournament having lost three of its past six games.

The Blue Hawks ended the season on a strong note, sweeping Minot State in the last doubleheader of the season. While DSU was charged with just two errors on the day, one, ironically, was Abrahamson's.

It was her first error since March 7.

Still, Fridley saw more out of the senior over the weekend than her miscue.

"Her leadership came to the top at Minot," Fridley said. "We tried to rally the troops and we knew what we had to do. Give her a lot of credit for keeping our kids focused in terms of what we had to do on Sunday."

But now crunch time begins.

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The Blue Hawks open the DAC tournament against the winner of an opening-round game between Jamestown College and Mayville State.

While DAC teams are champing at the bit to get a piece of the Blue Hawks, Abrahamson believes the team is out of its slump and is prepared to make a run in the postseason.

"We're actually sitting pretty well right now," Abrahamson said. "If we're hitting, our team's untouchable."

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