There was a time -- not long ago -- when the Dickinson High softball team struggled to win games. In her first two years as part of the Midgets' softball program, senior third baseman Briana Farnsworth didn't see much winning. However, with hard ...
There was a time -- not long ago -- when the Dickinson High softball team struggled to win games.
In her first two years as part of the Midgets' softball program, senior third baseman Briana Farnsworth didn't see much winning.
However, with hard work and perseverance, Farnsworth and the Dickinson softball program is seeing the fruits of their labor.
"I've loved playing on this team," Farnsworth said. "We've improved every year a little more. I love the dedication these girls show."
This marks the fifth year of the Dickinson softball program. Throughout those five years, Dickinson head coach Bill Butterfield has endured the struggles of a winless season to a first-time state tournament berth last year.
Yet, this season is by far the most successful Dickinson has had in the program program's history. The Midgets currently have a 17-2 overall record, which is a far cry from the program's first season in 2009 when it finished 0-24.
"The seniors have heard the speeches when we were 0-24 and 10-20 that the day would come that we were going to be decent," Butterfield said. "I'm excited for them to be part of a winning team. I kept telling them, 'We had to learn to lose, before we could learn to win.' Now, they are learning to win."
Farnsworth added: "Our first two years, we didn't win as many games as we would have liked. We were playing as a team, which was the important part and we always knew that we would do better the next year."
The Midgets close out their regular season with Minot Ryan, which will have the No. 1 seed going into the West Region Tournament, at 3:30 p.m. today at North Side Softball Complex. Dickinson is the No. 2 seed.
In Farnsworth's senior season, she has a .362 batting average batting in the cleanup spot with four doubles, one home run, 19 RBIs and has scored 16 runs. She's also been patient at the plate, drawing eight walks compared to only striking out three times.
Furthermore, Farnsworth has recorded at least one hit, a run or a RBI in 16 of 19 games this year. She has also collected nine multi-hit games.
"Last year, she had a real good year at the plate, she's a two-time all-state and all-West Region player," Butterfield said. "This year, she started off a little slow at the plate, but she's really hitting it well now.
"One of things that we've worked on with Brianna is to relax when she plays, and you can see she's become more and more relaxed. If she's relaxed, the team is relaxed and if the team is relaxed, that's when we play our best."
Dickinson junior catcher Mackee Hoffmann, who is returning from an ACL injury she suffered during her sophomore basketball season, is the No. 3 batter in the lineup and knows if she isn't able to drive in runs, Farnsworth is there to pick up the slack. On the season, Hoffmann has a .476 average with 15 extra base hits, including 12 doubles, one triple and two home runs, 22 RBIs and 19 runs scored.
"Brianna has really good reaction time and she's probably one of the best third basemen we've ever had," Hoffmann said. "It's nice to know, if I get out somehow, if there are people on base, she can drive them in, too."
Not only has Farnsworth excelled at the plate, but on the field as well. For the last two years, the senior has played third base. Though she has committed six errors in 30 chances, Farnsworth doesn't let a miscue get to her.
In fact, that's the mantra of the entire team. Farnsworth says a special ability the team possesses is not to compound errors during an inning or throughout a game. The team has committed a total of 22 errors in 363 chances for a .939 fielding percentage.
"Coach has always tells us that you have 30 seconds to get mad and then shake it off," Farnsworth said. "There's always more game to play and you don't have time to pout about it."