Midgets softball wins West Region

MINOT -- For the Dickinson High softball team, making the state tournament was the main goal. Winning the West Region Tournament was secondary.The Midgets accomplished both.Dickinson, the top-seeded team in the West Region Tournament, beat fifth-...

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Members of the Dickinson High softball team celebrate their 3-0 victory over Jamestown in the West Region Tournament championship game at the South Hill Complex in Minot. (Photo by Mark Jones / Minot Daily News)

MINOT - For the Dickinson High softball team, making the state tournament was the main goal. Winning the West Region Tournament was secondary.
The Midgets accomplished both.
Dickinson, the top-seeded team in the West Region Tournament, beat fifth-seeded Minot Bishop Ryan 3-2 to make the championship game and automatically qualify for the state tournament, then beat sixth-seeded Jamestown 3-0 to take the West Region championship on Saturday.
“We were freaking out,” Mickey said of her team after the Bishop Ryan win. “There was a lot of excitement.”
But Dickinson (30-3) didn’t make it through the day without a nail-bitter in the first game against Bishop Ryan, which had gone 2-2 with Dickinson during the regular season. The Midgets were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning with Sarah Dobitz on second base and Abby Jones on third.
Mickey signaled to Jordie McNeilly at the plate to bunt, which Mickey said threw Bishop Ryan’s defense off guard.
Even Jones wasn’t ready to bolt for home, Mickey said, but she scored and caused the team to celebrate with the state appearance-clinching run.
“It was either going to be the best call or the worst call, one or the other,” Mickey said. “And when it worked, it turned out to be the best. … We just needed a run, so we went with it.”
After the Lions (19-15) scored a run in the first inning, Dickinson replied in the second with a Katie Lafond RBI single to center field which drove in Julie Knight. Two innings later, Bishop Ryan scored on an error, but against the Midgets came back in the fifth inning when Jones hit a sacrifice bunt to drive in Kennedy Kuntz.
That game-trying play set up the dramatic finish in the seventh.
“I think they were a little nervous,” Mickey said. “They knew it was going to be a tough game for us. You could just tell they were loud and energized. They wanted to win.”

However, the West Region championship was not as nerve-wracking. Madi Jahner, who was named West Region athlete of the year, wouldn’t let it get that way.
After throwing 110 pitches in the Bishop Ryan game and allowing two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and two walks, Jahner continued with 84 pitches against Jamestown (19-16) and threw a shutout. She allowed two hits and three walks with three strikeouts while throwing strikes on 67.9 percent of her pitches.
“She did really well,” said Mickey, who was named West Region coach of the year. “She had a great weekend. We told her heading into (West Regionals) that she was going to be expected to throw all three games, and we needed her to be mentally and physically prepared.”
To help Jahner out, the Midgets provided all the runs they needed in the first inning. McNeilly started with a two-run triple to center field on Dickinson’s fourth at-bat of the game to drive in Jahner and Dobitz. McNeilly was driven in on the very next pitch when Knight singled to left field.
McNeilly and Taylor Privratsky both ended with two hits, while Emilie Sickler added one.
“We had some pretty solid hits,” Mickey said. “It worked. Our batters just took the first-pitch strike and swung at that.”
Now as the top seed out of the West Region going into the state tournament starting on Thursday in Jamestown, Mickey said the team’s goal now is to win a state championship.
“It’s not always handed to you, and I think the girls know that,” Mickey said. “All of their hard work for the week gets us to where we have a goal set for. It’s just going to be another week of hard work.”

Dickinson High 3, Minot Bishop Ryan 2
MBR 100 100 0 - 2 6 2
D 010 010 1 - 3 6 1
Emma Garber and Hailee Jundt. Madi Jahner and Jordie McNeilly.
W–Jahner. L–Garber. HR–none.
Highlights: MBR: Garber 2 for 3, run, walk, double; Sheyenne Schmidt 1 for 4; Jundt 1 for 3; Sealy Rovig 1 for 3; Eden Kramer 1 for 2, run, walk, SB. D: Abby Jones 1 for 3, run, RB, SB; Sarah Dobitz walk; McNeilly 2 for 4, RBI; Julian Knight run; Emilie Sickler 1 for 3; Katie Lafond 1 for 2, RBI, walk; Kennedy Kuntz run; Taylor Privratsky 1 for 2, walk, double.

Dickinson High 3, Jamestown 0
J 000 000 0 - 0 2 2
D 300 000 x - 3 7 3
Jadee Lange and Sydney Souilis. Madi Jahner and Jordie McNeilly.
W–Jahner. L–Lange. HR–none.
Highlights: J: Mariah Wick 1 for 3; Olivia Nihill 1 for 3; Soulis walk; Hannah Schiele walk. D: Abby Jones walk; Sarah Dobitz 1 for 3, run, walk; Jahner run; McNeilly 2 for 3, run, 2 RBI; Julian Knight 1 for 3, RBI; Emilie Sickler 1 for 3; Katie Lafond walk; Taylor Privratsky 2 for 3.

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