Blue Hawks softball bomb Comets in two-game sweep
DSU takes Saturday double-header from Maryville State at home
DICKINSON – There’s a reason athletes “play to the whistle” or use all the innings available on the diamond, and the Dickinson State Blue Hawks softball team showed why on Saturday. DSU earned a two-game sweep over Maryville State at home with a 12-9 come-from-behind victory in the nightcap and a narrow, 6-4 win in the opener on the strength of offense in the second game and defense in the first.
"That was a fun comeback," DSU manager Kristen Fleury said.
Dickinson State used a back-to-back-to-back series of three home runs in game two to outlast the Comets at Sanford Sports Complex's Bravera Field, with pinch-hitter Madeline Peralta driving Dallis Mitchell in with a homer over the left-field wall and then solo homers from Ashlee Potter and Hailey Enriquez to take the lead for good, 10-9, in that contest and never look back. It was a gritty effort for DSU to eclipse the Comets, with the Blue Hawks having taken an early 4-1 lead through the third on the strength of a first-inning run by Rhea Paiva on a groundout by Kara Conway and a third-inning breakthrough featuring Paiva scoring on an error and Conway being driven home by Ari Martinez, with starting-pitcher Mitchell providing further cushion and helping her cause with an RBI single that scored Martinez.
“Knowing she (Enriquez) can hit one over, she stayed composed and got her pitch and was able to go back-to-back-to-back,” Fleury said. "That was a huge at-bat for her. And Maddie P (Peralta) comes in off the bench and gets a 2-run homer and was our spark along with freshman Ashlee Potter, lining one over center-field that was a missile and they just kept the momentum going and it was fun to watch."
But Mitchell was chased from the mound in the top-of-the-fourth as the Comets pushed five runs across the plate and put DSU in a 6-4 hole. Hope Fath came on in relief, but there was little the Blue Hawks could do in the face of the rally except mow down MSU out-by-out to close out the inning. It was likewise in the fifth inning, as Maryville added to their lead on the strength of three more runs to take a 9-4 advantage, because DSU provided no answers in the bottom of the fourth.
Martinez, who featured on the mound quite often in the 2022 season, came on in relief of Fath and the Blue Hawks started getting back on track defensively before the offense broke loose with a huge fifth-frame. Martinez reached first on a single and Mitchell walked, while Cassidy Venner drove Martinez home on a sac-fly. That was when the homers started and didn’t end until three at-bats later with DSU in the lead. Paiva scored her third run of the game on an RBI-triple from Conway, who came home on an RBI single from Martinez as the team batted around in the inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and taking an 11-9 advantage. Then the Blue Hawks tacked on another run in the bottom-of-the-sixth after Alexa Kappel sent a line-drive double to the left-field wall and she was driven home by Emma Woodworth to close out the afternoon.
In the opener, it was a mostly defensive performance from Dickinson State, with starting pitcher Alexa Kappel striking out six and scattering seven hits. Kappel had a rough, 3-run third inning, but didn’t allow the Comets to gain any traction in the rest of the game after settling down and she held MSU to only 1 run on 2 hits in the final five frames.
Meanwhile, the Blue Hawks turned in an outstanding defensive performance in the field during the latter stages, and provided all the protection and firepower Kappel would need in a 4-run third-inning to take a 5-4 lead they never relinquished. In that inning, Conway got to first-base on an error and Martinez sent a liner to the right-field wall, scoring Conway. Mitchell drove Martinez home on an RBI-triple and subsequently scored on a single by Venner, who later came across the plate courtesy of an RBI-ground-out from Kamryn Kuntz.
"Lex (Alexa Kappel) pitched a great game for us ...," Fleury said. "I was proud of her, and that's two great outings the last two she's had for us."
DSU hosts Maryville in another doubleheader being played Sunday afternoon.
“It's difficult to beat any team four times in a row, let alone back-to-back days and by games three and four they've figured you out and you've figured them out,” Fleury said.
For more information about the Dickinson State Blue Hawks athletic program, please visit https://www.dsubluehawks.com/landing/index .
Maryville State 130 000 0XX
Dickinson State 104 001 XXX
2B – Ari Martinez (2), Alexa Kappel, 3B – Dallis Mitchell, RBI – Martinez (2), Mitchell, Cassidy Venner, Kamryn Kuntz
Alexa Kappel – 7IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 7K
Maryville State 100 530 0XX
Dickinson State 103 071 XXX
2B – Kappel, 3B – Kara Conway, HR – Madeline Peralta, Ashlee Potter, Hailey Enriquez, RBI – Conway (3), Martinez (2), Mitchell, Venner, Peralta (2), Potter, Enriquez, SB: Paiva (4), Conway, Martinez (2), Mitchell (2)
Mitchell – 3IP, 7H, 6R, 5ER, 0BB, 2K; Hope Fath – 1IP, 0H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 1K; Martinez – 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 3K