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DHS softball topples Jamestown to advance to WDA championship

As day two in the magic city of Minot began it was a windy one and adrenaline fueled in a game that showcased relentless pressure and strong emotions.

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Reese Hauck catches a flyball with Paige Balliet right behind to cover her. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

Champions do not become champions when they win the title; but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. One game away from playing for the WDA title, the Dickinson Midgets squared off against stiff competition in Jamestown Blue Jays during the semi-finals of the WDA softball regional tournament on Friday.

As day two in the magic city of Minot began it was a windy one and adrenaline fueled in a game that showcased relentless pressure and strong emotions.

Both teams came ready to give it their all, but ultimately it would be the Dickinson side that would rise to the top in an unusually close game with an 8-4 final score.

Jamestown held the early 0-1 lead after a dinger by Blue Jays’ Ella Roaldson in the first. DHS would not go quietly into the night and would rally back and pick up multiple runs in a change of momentum during the bottom of the second.

“We don’t focus much on nerves, we are pretty confident that our hitting will come around,” Kali Kubas, standout shortstop for the Midgets, said. “Our defense is great, our pitching is great.”

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Ava Jahner beats the live ball to first. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

Baylee Berg’s ground ball would bring in Reese Hauck before freshman Ava Jahner would put in work with a double sending Kubas and Berg home.

Mataya Mortensen would prove solid in the circle, pitching the first five innings and allowing a single run, over two hits and three strikeouts. She gained her second strikeout in the third before shutting down the Blue Jays in the fourth in a one, two, three inning.

“Knowing that I have my team behind me, I just do everything I can to get the ball to my catcher,” Mortensen said of her performance.

The Midgets were consistently on the gas with two additional runs coming in the third and again in the fourth.

In the fourth, Mortensen would score on a deep flyball courtesy of Taya Hopfauf — who would later round the plate with the assistance of Paige Balliet’s tenacious plate appearance.

At the top of sixth Jahner would take over in the circle for Mortensen, who walked off with her head high on a great performance.

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Jahner would find difficulty closing the game, allowing five hits and three runs over two innings with four strikeouts.

The Midgets would gain a final run to seal the deal in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of Hopfauf, who capitalized on a Blue Jay error.

Jamestown would attempt a rally in the seventh, as their dug out cheered and the crowds prayed for a late rally, but it would be for naught as Jahner would close the door emphatically.

Jahner would not give in to the stresses in the final inning, saying that she never doubted that they wouldn’t pull it through with the defense behind her.

“Ava is a great pitcher, but she was getting frustrated… There were a couple of bloopers and there is nothing you can do about it,” Amanda Mickey, Midgets head coach, said. “They got the bat to the ball, but she throws hard so that’s just how it works. We had enough cushion for her to throw comfortably and she got the job done eventually and I am still proud of her.”

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Jamestown dugout empties to give Jenna Fischer a hero's welcome as she brings in a single off of a homerun. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

Two runs were added late by Jamestown on a long ball by Jenna Fischer, before a final run came from a line drive single. Ultimately, it would prove fruitless as Dickinson’s defense would take the victory.

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After picking up the win over Jamestown, the Midgets have a final performance left before them as they will have to dig deep in a meeting with Bismarck Century for the championship on Saturday, May 29 at 2 p.m Mountain time.

“(Century) is a very good team and it’s going to be highly competitive and an on the edge game. We are looking forward to it because that is what we love,” Mickey said. “We are going to go out and play Dickinson softball and represent ourselves well.”

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Dickinson's coaching staff greet their players with open arms as the defense continue to hold Jamestown to one run. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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