I got to witness history Tuesday night at Gress Complex as the Dickinson High softball team won their first-ever game, opening their second season with a 12-2 victory over Custer County (Mont.) in five innings via the 10-run rule. The Midgets finished the 2009 season with an 0-24 record.
Nonetheless, excitement and expectations should be remain tempered considering the Midgets were playing a team that is also in its second year and also hasn’t won a game yet. The Cowgirls committed five errors and had 11 passed balls, four of which led to Dickinson runs.
But, if I can tell you one thing, it’s that the Midgets looked a lot better than they did the few times I saw them play last year. They were smoother in the infield, committing only only two errors, and those were both late in the game when the air was chilly and fatigue and nerves about getting the game over in five innings were becoming factors.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey LaFond struck out six and immediately made her place as the heart of this team. LaFond not only pitched well, she went 3-for-4 and her first hit of the season was a stand-up triple.
Aside from LaFond, it was also nice to see some of the team’s younger players, such as eighth-grade shortstop Rachel Jahner, eighth-grade catcher MacKee Hoffman, freshman center fielder Jessica Priebe and sophomore Mariah Quintus come up with good plays both at the plate and in the field. It’ll also be interesting to see how sophomore third baseman Briana Farnsworth, who moved here from Wisconsin, fares. She a big stick who batted in the No. 3 spot and went 2-for-2 and reached on a fielder’s choice.
Youth may have stole the show, but it also helped showcase the affect the past few seasons of Dickinson Diamonds Fastpitch Club ball have had on this team. The Midgets started only one senior alongside five sophomores and three freshmen. (Three seniors who expect to get some quality playing time were absent for their Close-Up trip to Washington, D.C.). That youth also didn’t seem to matter In the field, where reaction times were a lot faster than last season and mental errors were kept to a minimum, which — as you probably know — is a big key to success in softball and baseball.
While it’s only one game that would have probably been classified as a ‘Toilet Bowl’ type of game last season, it’s hard not to get a little excited about what we saw Tuesday night.
One thing that’s for certain is winning is no longer out of the question for this team. They’ll be in for some tests this weekend at the East-West Crossover in Bismarck, where they’re sure to take a beating or two from some established clubs.
But, I believe getting one win under their belts and wiping last year’s winless season out of their minds is going to help this young and upcoming team more anyone could imagine.