Mataya Mortensen, who just completed her freshman year, helped the Dickinson High softball team to a fifth-place finish at the Class A State Tournament on Saturday, June 1, at Minot.

The right-handed pitcher struggled in a 10-3 quarterfinal loss to Valley City, allowing nine runs over 4 ⅓ innings, but in her teams back-to-back wins to end the season, she allowed 10 runs over 15 ⅔ innings. In the consolation semifinal, which her team won 8-7 in the ninth inning over Fargo North, Mortensen threw 8 ⅔ innings, striking out 11 while walking no one and hitting one batter. In the fifth-place game, which Dickinson won 5-3 over Minot, Mortensen went the distance, fanning three.

Over the last two games, she went 3-for-7 with two doubles and two RBIs.

DP: How would you describe this season?

MM: "The season had its ups and downs, but it was a really good season and we had fun."

DP: How long have you been playing softball and what do you most enjoy about it?

MM: "I've been playing softball for maybe seven years, the thing I enjoy about it is the thrill of the game."

DP: How to maintain the balance of pitching and batting well?

MM: "Taking (it) pitch-by-pitch and focusing."

DP: Do you participate in anything else?

MM: "I participate in two other sports, hockey and volleyball."

DP: What is your earliest sports memory?

MM: "My earlier sports memories, me and my sister pitching to each other in the backyard."

DP: Do you have a favorite athlete?

MM: "My favorite athlete is Jenny Finch."

DP: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

MM: "Meatballs."

DP: If you had to vacation one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

MM: "Arizona."

DP: Snapchat or Instagram?

MM: "Snapchat."

DP: Coke or Pepsi?

MM: "Coke."

DP: Country or hip-hop?

MM: "Country."

DP: What is your spirit animal?

MM: "A horse."

DP: Who or what is your biggest inspiration to succeed?

MM: "My older sister. My sisters, I should say."