MINOT - Hailey Schaefer was simply too much for Dickinson to handle.
The Valley City sophomore struck out 14 Midgets over seven innings, boosting the Hi-Liners to a 10-3 win during the Class A Softball State Softball Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, May 30 at the South Hill Complex.
"She did a great job today. It's not like she was the most amazing pitcher in the state, but she definitely did a great job," Dickinson head coach Amanda Mickey said of Schaefer. "We just put a lot of pressure on ourselves today and we're good at that and it got the best of us. We just didn't make the adjustments and lay off the high balls."
The Midgets, the No. 3 seed out of the West Region, recorded six hits on the right-hander, four of which came in the top of the sixth.
Following a strikeout by senior first baseman Briana Ashworth, freshman catcher Taya Hopfauf hit a solo home run to put the Midgets on the board and brought the score to 9-1.
Freshman starting pitcher Mataya Mortensen and junior centerfielder Emy Personne put up back-to-back singles, but Schaefer struck out another victim to turn the second out.
That didn't faze freshman left fielder Reese Hauck, though. On a wild pitch, the runners moved to second and third, and as Hauck doubled, she plated them both.
That was all the offense could muster.
Meanwhile, the Dickinson pitching staff couldn't fool the hard-hitting Hi-Liners. Mortensen threw 4 ⅓ innings, giving up nine runs on 13 hits and walking two. Still, she struck out six batters.
Freshman Hope Fath stepped up in relief, surrendering one run on four hits over 1 ⅔ innings.
Valley City was held off in the first, but in the second frame, the second seed from the East scored five runs. With the game scoreless, senior Eliza Schueneman was eager to generate a run from a lead-off single. With junior Jessica Undem at the plate, Schueneman moved to second on a passed ball.
Undem swung for strike three, but the ball ricocheted away from the catcher, allowing an already-in-motion Schueneman to score, and Undem to reach.
Undem proceeded to steal second and third with sophomore Emma Mielke at the plate, but was thrown out at home as Mielke singled. That didn't deter the Hi-Liners. Three straight singles, a hit-by-pitch and another single scored four more runs, giving the designated home team a 5-0 advantage.
"We had a dropped third strike that didn't make it to first. That collected four runs for the other team," Mickey said of the game's biggest moment. "Our seniors, they let the pressure get to them and they didn't come through with big hits. It is what it is, we still love them. We got their backs."
Dickinson gave up five more runs throughout the game, three of which came home with two outs.
Dickinson will face Fargo North, the four seed from the Eastern Dakota Conference, at 11 a.m. CT at the South Hill Complex.
"We're gonna go out tomorrow, leave it all out there and have some fun," Mickey said.
No. 2 Valley City 10, No. 3 Dickinson 3
D 000 003 0 - 3 6 5
VC 051 031 X - 10 17 2
D, Mataya Mortensen (4.1), Hope Fath (1.2) and Taya Hopfauf. VC, Hailey Schaefer and Jessica Undem.
W-Schaefer. L-Mortensen. HR-D, Hopfauf.
Highlights: D, Reese Hauck 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Hopfauf 1-3, HR, R, RBI; Emy Personne 1-2, R; Mortensen 2-3, R, 4.1 IP, 13 H, 9 R (9 ER), 6 K, 2 BB; Fath 1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER). VC, Grace Scherr 4-4, 2 R, 3 RBI; Emma Mielke 3-4, 2 R; Samantha Ranisate 3-4, 3 R; Schaefer 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 14 K, 1 BB.