Midgets launch season on the right foot in sweep of Blue Jays
In a non-regional doubleheader to open the season, the defending state champions came away with bragging rights on Friday.
DICKINSON — Dickinson High School officially began their defending state championship run on Friday with their season opening sweep of non-regional competition Jamestown. While the start was a bit shaky, the Midgets quickly got down to business.
There were multiple home runs in both games, including two three-run homers in game one of the doubleheader. Hope Fath started as the Midgets’ right outfielder, but would make a much stronger impact inside the circle — clinching the win in game one and racking up her first save on the season in game two. The moment was a long time coming for the senior who missed all of last season courtesy of a significant injury.
"It feels good to make an impact, especially for my first game back from an injury," Fath said. “I was a little nervous, but was ready to be back with my team."
Game one didn't have a run scored until the bottom of the third inning when Dickinson took a 3-0 lead, including a sacrifice fly from Baylee Berg to send runner Reese Hauck home from third base.
The Blue Jays wouldn't lay down that easily and responded with four runs of their own in the fourth and fifth innings to signal that the game would be competitive. Jamestown took the lead at the top of the fifth with a three-run homer from junior Katie Falk.
One of the hallmarks of the Midgets season last year was the team's ability to suffer setbacks and respond in fashion. This season appeared to follow the same focus as Sophomore Ava Jahner, holding the circle, would turn over the game to Fath and usher in a quick one, two, three to leave three runner stranded.
Dickinson would take the momentum into the fifth and retake the lead at 5-4 and wouldn't look back. The Midgets extended their lead to 9-4 in the sixth inning following a three-run bomb courtesy of their cleanup in Jahner.
After allowing a run in the sixth inning and two walks at the top of the seventh, Fath handed the ball back to Jahner to close out the game and cement their first victory.
Jahner led in hits and RBIs for the Midgets with four and three. Seniors Taya Hopfauf and Hauck tallied two RBIs each and Hopfauf also took the only triple in the game.
Game two saw a more lively side to the Midgets who took it out of neutral and kept the pedal to the floorboards with early runs in the first three innings to take a decisive 4-1 lead — including a homer from Jenna Decker.
Changes were made on the defensive squad with Decker toeing the rubber in the circle while Jahner would cycle to first base. As part of the rotation, Berg would don the catcher’s gear and open up the hot corner for Taya Hopfauf.
By the bottom of the third, the Midgets were once again defending loaded bases from a resilient Jamestown side. With only a single out, and a heated exchange following a reversed call by the plate umpire, the Blue Jays’ momentum garnered only a single run in the inning for their efforts.
Dickinson's highest scoring inning came at the top of the sixth with four more runs, 9-2, to place all hopes of a comeback in the rear-view mirror.
Jamestown would sizzle a bit before burning out as the game ended on three putouts.
Decker and Hauck would tie for most RBIs during the doubleheader at two apiece.
While the victory was expected, the next outing will be a sizeable test for the defending state champs who will be on the road against Bismarck High for their opening regional play on Tuesday, April 5. The last time the two faced each other was in the 2021 state championship game.
"I am very proud of them for coming away with two wins, but I feel like we have a lot of work to do before Tuesday," Head coach Amanda Mickey said. "I do expect a lot out of my kids... Bismarck is a very good team and I feel like we didn't show what our true talent is , but we will only get better from here."
DHS: Ava Jahner 7, Taya Hopfauf 5, Reese Hauck 4, Morgan Koffler 2, Jenna Decker, Hope Fath 1; JHS: Katie Falk 6, Jenna Fischer 3, Rylee Joseph 2, T. Mack, Makenna Nold 1
DHS : Jahner 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 6 K, Fath 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K;
JHS : Katie 6 IP, 13 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
DHS: Decker 5, Berg, Hauck 4, Hopfauf, Jahner 3; JHS: Nold 3, Joseph, Fischer 2, Falk 1
DHS: Decker 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, Fath 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; JHS: Nold 6 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 9 K