No hits allowed: Dickinson softball dominates Watford City in back-to-back no hitters
Three pitchers made an appearance on the mound for the home team during a doubleheader between the Dickinson High softball team and Watford City.
Seventh grader Ava Jahner was terrific in game one, freshman Hope Fath was fabulous in game two and freshman Mataya Mortensen closed out the final inning of each game.
None of the three allowed a single hit. The only blemish on the mound all evening was a hit batter by Jahner.
Supporting the no-hit games, the Dickinson offense erupted against the formerly Class B Wolves. The Midgets won game one 29-0 in five innings before completing the series sweep with a 15-0 five-inning victory in game two on Thursday, May 2, at the North Softball Complex.
"From our defense, that was awesome. Our pitchers, they still got to throw the strikes, still got to hit their spots," Dickinson High head coach Amanda Mickey said. "And all three of them did a great job doing that today in the 10 innings they all pitched together."
Fath and Mortensen combined to throw a perfect game in the nightcap, with Fath fanning five batters. Fath threw 40 pitches, 34 of them being strikes. While seven batters made contact, the defense behind her was perfect as well, not committing an error.
Fath said it felt great to be a part of a no-hit night and having confidence in the defense behind her helped her keep her cool.
"Knowing that my team has my back and if somebody gets a hit off me, that they can make the play," Fath said.
In game one, Jahner put 41 pitches over the plate over four innings, 31 being strikes. She earned six K's. In the top of the fourth, after beaning Kaylin Monsen, Jahner struck out two Wolves swinging before catching Riley Faller looking.
"Ava did a great job because she's struggled the last two starts so her coming in today, I thought she did a good job hitting her spots," Mickey said. "She had one hit (batter), of course she always has to sneak that in. Mortensen did a good job coming in closing. She hasn't really done that all year, and it's nice having those two starting and her closing with her speed."
Mortensen's speed struck out three batters over six faced on the day.
The Midgets (13-5, 6-4 WDA) offense took advantage of struggling Wolves (0-15, 0-10 WDA) pitchers, drawing 21 total walks over the doubleheader. That didn't make them complacent at the plate, though, as the first strike they saw, they swung at. In game one, the home team compiled 20 hits, and tallied 10 more in game two.
In the first contest, sophomore Paige Balliet went 4-for-5, including 2-for-3 in the third inning alone. The Midgets totaled 22 at-bats in the third, using hit after hit and the occasional wild pitch to plate 16 runs.
"Paige has always had it, it's a matter of her figuring it out for herself and giving herself that confidence," Mickey said. "We know Paige has the ability to hit very well today and every ball that she did hit I thought was going over the fence. We just hope she carries that confidence into the regular season and the years to come."
Three of Balliet's hits were doubles, all of which hit the wall either directly or on a bounce. Mortensen also had a pair, while junior Taylor Nelson and Jahner added a double each.
Mortensen went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and four RBIs. Freshman Kali Kubas and Nelson had three hits apiece, while freshman Reece Hauck, who hit a three-run home run in the middle of the third, had two hits.
Senior Kennedy Kuntz was the sole Midget with multiple hits in game two. After three relatively slow innings, the Midgets tacked on 13 in the fourth, putting the 10-run rule into effect after retiring the Wolves in the top of the fifth.
The all-around success should give the girls in orange and black ample confidence ahead of weekend contests against more skilled opponents.
"Defensively, we've been struggling as a team, getting those routine plays down," Mickey admitted. "There were quite a few; it wasn't all strikeouts. They had to make routine plays and they did a phenomenal job doing it. It's awesome going into Saturday because we have two tough games against Legacy and Bismarck."
Dickinson 29, Watford City 0 (F/5)
WC 000 00X X — 0 0 3
DHS 41(16) 8XX X — 29 20 0
WC, Madison Spacher (3.1), A Davis (0.2) and Riley Faller. D, Ava Jahner (4), Mataya Mortensen (1) and Taya Hopfauf.
W—Jahner. L—Spacher. HR—D, Reece Hauck.
Highlights: WC, Spacher 3.1 IP, 19 H, 22 R (22 ER), 3 K, 10 W. D, Mataya Mortensen 4-4, 2 2B, 4 R, 4 RBI, 1 IP, 2 K; Paige Balliet 4-5, 3 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI; Taylor Nelson 3-4, 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI; Kali Kubas 3-4, 2 R, 3 RBI; Reese Hauck 2-4, HR, 5 R, 4 RBI; Kamryn Kuntz 1-2, 3 R, RBI; Ali Lafond 1-2, 2 R, 2 RBI; Emy Personne 1-1, 2 R, RBI; Jahner 1-2, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 4 IP, 6 K.
Dickinson 15, Watford City 0 (F/5)
WC 000 00X X — 0 0 6
DHS 110 (13)XX X — 15 10 0
WC, Madison Spacher (3), Davis (1) and Faller. D, Hope Fath (4), Mortensen (1) and Hopfauf.
W—Fath. L—Spacher. HR—None.
Highlights: WC, Spacher 3 IP, 7 H, 10 R (8 ER), 1 K, 3 BB. D, Kennedy Kuntz 2-2, 2 2B, R; Kamryn Kuntz 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Mortensen 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; 1 IP, 1 K; Hopfauf 1-2, R, RBI; Brianna Ashworth 1-2, R, RBI; Lafond 1-1; Hauck 1-3, 3 R, RBI; Fath 1-3, 2B, R, 3 RBI, 4 IP, 5 K.