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Blue Hawks softball campaign ends

FAYETTE (Mo.) — The Dickinson State University women’s softball season came to an end on Tuesday, May 15 after suffering a pair of losses in the opening round of the 2018 NAIA Softball National Championship.

In their tournament opener, the No. 4 seeded Blue Hawks scored first, but dropped a 5-1 contest to Hope International (Calif.). In their next match-up against bracket host Central Methodist, DSU again fell 5-1 at the Cox Softball Complex and were eliminated from the tournament.

Game one junior starter pitcher Abi Brooks tossed a complete game and was granted a lead midway through the game. Junior designated player Rayleen Ortiz put the Blue Hawks on top with a line drive RBI single to center-field in the bottom of the fourth inning

The Royals responded during their next trip to the plate when sophomore utility player Alexza Sanchez led off the top half of the fifth with a single. After stealing second base, Sanchez was driven in following an RBI single from senior infielder Tobi Salzman.

Hope International added three runs the top of the sixth with RBI singles from junior infielder Drew Moore, senior infielder Kaitlyn Lanksbury and junior starting pitcher Taylor Pierce. Dickinson State threatened in the bottom of the frame, putting the tying run at the plate, but freshman infielder Emilie Sickler popped out to Pierce, ending the inning.

In game two, Central Methodist generated offense in the top of the first. After a sacrifice fly from freshman outfielder Kelli Gorman platted senior outfielder Skyler Hime, Eagles freshman catcher Hannah Criswell scored on a DSU’s second passed ball in the inning.

Held scoreless through three innings, the Blue Hawks lit up the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth when a groundball to short off of the bat of junior utility player Kayla Stephens was misplayed by Hannah Steeby. The sophomore shortstop’s second error of the inning allowed DSU junior infielder Sonja Lawrence to score from third.

Steeby later redeemed herself with a solo home run to leadoff the top of the seventh, giving Central Methodist a 5-1 advantage.

Dickinson State went down swinging, again bringing the tying run to the plate in the latter innings. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, senior outfielder Rachel Dillon singled to load the bases, but Eagles starting pitcher Ashley Wills got senior infield Mariah Gamboa to line out, ending the game and the Blue Hawks season.

Wills tossed a complete game five-hitter, strikeout out two while not allowing an earned run or a base on balls.

DSU finished the season 30-21.  

Hope International (Calif.) 5, Dickinson State 1HI 000 013 1 — 5 7 1DS 000 100 0 — 1 9 3HI: Taylor Pierce (7) and Jaslin Rivas. DS: Abi Brooks (7) and Jordan Menke.W–Pierce. L–Brooks. HR–None.Highlights: HI: Ally Painter 1-4, 2 R, SB; Pierce: 7 IP, 9 H, BB, ER, 3 K. DP: Sonja Lawrence 2-3, R, SB; Brooks 7 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 R (4 ER).Central Methodist (Mo.) 5, Dickinson State 1CM 201 001 1 — 5 10 3DS 000 100 0 — 1 5 2CM: Ashley Wills (7) and Hannah Criswell. DS: Jalen Creech (4) Abi Brooks (3) and Claire Shoffit/Jordan Menke.W–Wills. L–Creech. HR– CM: Kelli Gorman and Hannah Steeby.Highlights: CM: Gorman 1-3, HR, @ RBI, R; Steeby 1-4, HR, RBI, R; Wills 7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, R (0 ER), 2 K. DT: Kayla Stephens 1-3, RBI; Sonja Lawrence, R, 2 SB.
Patrick Bernadeau

Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press. He can be reached at his office number (701) 456-1211 or email him at Joining the Dickinson Press in July 2017, he was previously a freelance sports writer for Treasure Coast Newspapers ( in Stuart, FL as well as carrying bylines from the Associated Press, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today and Naples Daily News. Prior to his move to Dickinson, he resided in Port St. Lucie, FL, earning a Bachelor's Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Patrick was born and raised in Brockton, Mass and is an avid Boston sports fan. Born to Haitian parents, Patrick's favorite meal is Griot with Banana Peze, Pikliz (Fried pork with smashed plaintains and a spicy vegetable relish) and a tall glass of Cherry Coke.

(701) 456-1211