Midgets take advantage of Blue Jays' mistakes, advance to WDA semifinal
MINOT — Jamestown starting pitcher Payton Gall got off to a hot start in a West Region quarterfinal against No. 3 Dickinson High.
In the first inning, she threw nine pitches and struck out two batters, an especially impressive feat when considering the fire power at the top of the Midgets lineup.
However, Dickinson soon figured her out. In the second, Gall hit a batter, walked another, and allowed two runs. The Midgets were patient at the plate and went on to best Gall and the No. 6 Blue Jays 7-4 on Thursday, May 23, at the South Hill Complex.
The win sends Dickinson High to a semifinal game against No. 2 Bismarck Century on Friday.
"Gall, she's good with her movement and we were able to crowd the plate this time and realize she throws a lot of out, out, out," Dickinson head coach Amanda Mickey said. "When we started laying off of it, she kind of got frustrated with the situation and started throwing a little more outside the strike zone. Definitely laying off pitches that aren't strikes, that are good, quality pitches coming from her, definitely helped us out in the long run."
Gall threw 119 pitches over six innings, walking six and striking out three.
Meanwhile, Midgets freshman starter Mataya Mortensen was calm and collected throughout, allowing seven hits, walking three and fanning three.
Adding insult to injury, Gall was the first to strike out against Mortensen, going down looking to end the first.
Mortensen supported her cause with an RBI triple in the sixth to score sophomore pinch runner Paige Balliet, bringing the score to 7-4. The run came after Jamestown put up three runs in the top of the sixth, to get within two.
"Mortensen, with her triple, getting that one extra insurance run at the end was huge, gave her a lot of confidence going into the circle. We just struggled defensively, making those darn little routine plays."
While the Blue Jays committed three errors, the Midgets did too, they simply weren't as costly.
None of the Midgets runs were earned. The first two came through on passed balls in the second, as freshman catcher Taya Hopfauf and junior outfielder Emy Personne were quick to react and dash home.
In the third, senior outfielder Kennedy Kuntz kicked off the inning with a walk, and one out later, senior infielder Brianna Ashworth hit a grounder and reached on an error while Kuntz scored. A few batters later, freshman outfielder Reese Hauck hit an RBI single to plate Ashworth, making it 4-0.
"Putting the ball in play was huge," Mickey said. "The last time we played them, we had a hard time putting the ball in play. The last time we played them as well, we had a lot of nice, hard hits that just went to players. Today we had a lot of those as well. We had a lot of quality hits. The wind was blowing in and it kind of just held the ball up and they made some good plays."
No. 3 Dickinson 7, No. 6 Jamestown 4
J 000 013 0 — 4 7 3
D 022 021 X — 7 4 3
J, Payton Gall and Jenna Fischer. D, Mataya Mortensen and Taya Hopfauf.
W—Mortensen. L—Gall. HR—None.
Highlights: J, Katelyn Falk 2-3, R; McKenna Jackson 1-3, R, RBI; Gall 6 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 3 K, 6 BB. D, Reese Hauck 2-4, R, RBI; Emy Personne 1-2, R, RBI; Mortensen 1-3, 3B, RBI, 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R (2 ER), 3 K, 3 BB.