BISMARCK – “Stellar” was the word of the day for head coach Amanda Mickey who described her close-knit group of players after winning the Western Dakota Association tournament on Saturday – It’s the third time the program has won the title, last seen in 2016.
The success of the No. 1 Dickinson Midgets softball team has no limits in the west as they easily won the tournament title, taking on No. 3 Bismarck High School in the championship for a finish 4 -2.
Taya Hopfauf was named Senior Athlete of the Year as the Midgets’ starting catcher and heavy hitter. To date, Hopfauf has 153 outs to his name with a .969 fielding percentage, leads the team in homers with 10 and has gone 76 of 113 at the plate. His tenth homer clinched the title for Dickinson to claim the WDA crown.
“It’s great to be able to come out this year and be able to say we’re ahead of the WDA Championship game and to build that momentum and that win next week is important for us,” Hopfauf said. “We just had to be ourselves. The only thing that bothered us was ourselves, we just had to make sure we had good batting quality and played good Dickinson-style softball. »
Dickinson started the scoring with a 1-0 lead late in the first, but the Demons took advantage in the second on a two-run RBI single by Jersey Berg. The Midgets’ composure never wavered and the 2-1 deficit was overturned late in the set. The tying point came from a sacrifice fly by junior Baylee Berg bringing Hope Fath home.
“We were even down 2-1 at one point and it didn’t phase them, they didn’t roll at all,” Mickey said. “They kept hammering, chipping a little bit here and there and pitching behavior never changed and that’s one thing with our team is they don’t give up until the last inning. I am so grateful as a coach to have a good team.
The scoreboard remained tied at 2 until the fifth until hole #3, Hopfauf smashed a dinger to center field to take the run forward. Senior Kali Kubas gave Dickinson the insurance ride with an RBI line single, bringing home sophomore Ava Jahner.
The superiority of the Demons’ big hitter and fireball, Logan Gronberg, was a big part of the Midgets’ victory, but it was not easy. She is the only pitcher this season to have a victory over Dickinson.
In the final, Gronberg led Bismarck 2-for-3 at bat and threw 50 strikes on 71 pitches throughout the game. Dickinson managed to get 10 hits and had just two strikeouts that day.
“Bismarck is a hell of a softball program, Logan Gronberg is a great hitter and also a fantastic pitcher, so to be able to come away with a win against her is always huge,” Mickey said. “Our girls did a great job seeing the ball today and putting it in play. We did a good job adjusting, last time we played I believe Logan had at least seven outs in the game. batting against us… To keep it at two strikeouts, I think our success has been and obviously our circle is doing such a good job as a pitcher, holding them at two runs.
Dickinson saw his dynamic duo of Mataya Mortenson and Jahner share the circle, as they had the day before, in their shutout win over Jamestown.
Mortensen struck out four batters, allowing four walks and three hits. After three and two-thirds innings, Jahner relieved the senior pitcher before delivering three Ks herself.
“I know Mortenson probably didn’t want to be knocked out as soon as she did, but she’s not a selfish player. She wants to do good for her team,” Mickey said. such a good job and I’m just excited to see what they have in store for the state. The way these two compete is very good and we are very lucky.
Honors were handed out to wrap up the tournament, including Athlete of the Year and five Dickinson selections to the All-West Region Team – Hopfauf, Jenna Decker, Reese Hauck, Fath and Mortensen.
The state tournament will take place in Jamestown at Lyle “Trapper” Lawrence Field and the Midgets’ first opponent will be Valley City on Thursday.