Jenna Decker collects six RBIs as undefeated Midgets 10-run rule the Sabers
DICKINSON — The Class A defending state champion Dickinson softball team has become somewhat synonymous with blowout game, leading the state in run differentials on the year. The Midgets' consistent 10 run games highlights that even in cases where they fall behind, their firepower often gets the team out of bad situations quickly.
Sophomore Jenna Decker was the embodiment of this during the most recent home doubleheader sweep over Bismarck Legacy on Tuesday.
As Dickinson’s leadoff hitter, Decker struggled to make contact, striking out in her first two plate appearances in game one. Despite that, she would return for her third attempt and wrap up the game with a grand slam fifth inning bomb that brought the game to a decisive and final 12-2 result.
“The first game was a tough one, but we battled back. I think that was really good and we didn’t quit,” Decker said. “Even in this game (game two), even though it went to six innings, we still came back in the sixth and got what we needed to do done.”
The Sabers (6-6, 12-6) have been a scrappy team all season, holding their own against some of the best softball programs in the Western Dakota Association. On Tuesday, all aspirations for Bismarck Legacy were focused on pulling the upset over the Midgets (10-0, 22-0), the last undefeated varsity softball team in the state. Unfortunately for them, they would instead catch an early bus ride home with both games ending by way of mercy rule and highlighting why Dickinson is well en-route to a repeat championship appearance in 2022.
In game one, Dickinson trailed 2-1 until they took their first lead. The winning lead, captured in the third inning, would begin courtesy of senior Reese Hauck who started the scoring for Dickinson in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to bring senior Taya Hopfauf home.
After a scoreless second inning, the Midgets' runs would resume in the third and once again Hauck would be involved. Garnering her second RBI off a line drive double, this time bringing home senior Mataya Mortenson, Hauck would score herself in the inning after a Legacy error to give her team the decisive and final lead at 3-2.
Hauck's second trip around the bags would come in the fifth and final inning, via a sacrifice bunt by senior Kali Kubas, to make the score 8-2 and setting the stage for Decker’s dinger to center field to end the game.
“Hitting a home run was pretty fun and a good way to end the game,” Decker said. “It was a good way to come back and really boost my confidence.”
The Sabers started game two and again shot out of the gates in hopes of deflating their powerhouse opponents. Bismarck would start with another two-run lead, but Dickinson would respond swiftly before ultimately running away with the game with an eight-run inning in the bottom of the second.
With four runs coming in the fourth, the Midgets were on the cusp of ending the game by the fifth inning before two runs scored by Legacy kept the game alive — if only for a bit longer.
Just as in game one, Decker would cross the plate as the final runner on a ground ball double by Mortensen.
Decker went 3-for-4 in game two, including a double and tallied six RBIs between both games.
Sophmore Ava Jahner would make an appearance in the circle in both games and would feature heavily at the plate with four RBIs to help her pitching efforts — including two sacrifice flies to move runners. Jahner would close both games, holding the circle for 4 and a third innings in game one with six K’s and a single inning in game two.
Dickinson is expecting a hard-fought battle against Minot (8-2, 12-4) in their next outing, which will come on the road Friday.
“Minot is going to be a tough game,” Decker said. “So we are going to be preparing for that and just work hard all the time like we always do.”