Getting back on track
The Dickinson State softball team has been its own worst enemy this season -- and they know it. The Blue Hawks, who lost two in a row to Jamestown College on Sunday to fall to 14-9 on the season, have averaged 4.1 errors in its nine losses. "Ever...
The Dickinson State softball team has been its own worst enemy this season -- and they know it.
The Blue Hawks, who lost two in a row to Jamestown College on Sunday to fall to 14-9 on the season, have averaged 4.1 errors in its nine losses.
"Every game we've basically lost, we've beaten ourselves. We've played to these team's level," DSU head coach Kristen Fleury said. "We know the talent we have and we know how good we are, but we continue to see a drop down in our level of play and we continue to beat ourselves."
DSU plays Black Hills State in a Dakota Athletic Conference doubleheader at 2 p.m. today in its home opener.
While the games wouldn't typically be viewed as must-wins -- heck, the past couple seasons, they wouldn't have even been seen as losable -- Fleury said, she's made it clear to her team that they are.
Why? Because two losses to Jamestown College in a doubleheader on Sunday set the Blue Hawks back in the race for the DAC title -- at 5-3, they're fourth in a very tight race with 10 conference games remaining -- and dropped them four spots to No. 12 in the NAIA national rankings.
DSU is 6-6 in its last 12 games and, following today's doubleheader, hits the road again for a four-game series at Valley City State that begins Saturday.
Fleury hopes the lessons learned from the two losses at Jamestown help the team take care of business over the next few days.
After beating the Jimmies 14-1 and 6-3 last Saturday, Jamestown responded with 2-1 and 4-2 victories Sunday. Combined, DSU had 17 hits and six errors in the losses.
"We played well. We played our games on Saturday," Fleury said. "On Sunday, we took one step forward and two steps back. That's something we can't do, obviously."
Fleury said she'd it be nice to see the rest of her team have the same kind of production and consistency senior first baseman Kelly Jahn has given the Blue Hawks this season.
Jahn leads the team with a .438 batting average, 32 hits and seven doubles. She's also driven in 18 runs.
"She's stepped up huge. She had confidence in herself at the plate. She's swinging the bat and being a leader out there," Fleury said. "Hopefully with her coming around with the bat, hitting is contagious, and it can get our other big hitters who are struggling at the plate, they can get confidence in themselves as well."
Jahn said there are many culprits behind the team's erratic start.
She pointed to the infusion of new players, off-field issues stemming from the November deaths of three teammates or, as Fleury said, not performing to their abilities.
Nevertheless, Jahn thinks the Blue Hawks' best is yet to come.
"It's such a new team it's been kind of like a rollercoaster. But I don't think we've hit our prime yet," Jahn said. "... No one likes to lose, so that's hard to deal with, but we just have to think every game is the most important and play our best and hopefully everything falls into place."