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May-Port-CG softball trying to keep dominant run going at state tourney in Jamestown

May 29—JAMESTOWN — The Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg softball team has gotten used to having a target on their back.

The top seed in the 2024 NDHSAA Class B State Softball Tournament to be held in Jamestown this week finished runners-up in the volleyball state tournament in the fall before winning the girls' basketball state tournament on March 2. The Patriots are 17-2 this softball season and on a four-game winning streak. The team has outscored its opponents 245-47 as of Monday, May 27. The three teams have gone a combined 78-8 this school year.

"These girls just compete, it doesn't matter what sport or what game it is, these girls, they just want to win," Patriots head coach Keenan Konschak said. "... These girls want to compete every day. They're gamers, game time shows up and they're ready to go. I don't know if it's they hate losing so bad or that capacity to take it all in and execute whatever I put in front of them. That's kind of what's been so special about this group of seniors."

Konschak said during the volleyball season he watched his players and saw the potential for them to have a special softball season.

"I just noticed how their athleticism was something special this year," Konschak said. "I noticed that they looked faster, they looked stronger, they looked more focused and they wanted to win."

This season, six players have been on all three teams, including senior Rylee Satrom, who is also on the Patriots' track and field team.

"It's our senior year and we really want it to end on a high note," Rylee said. "I think throughout the year, we've all been working really hard during practice and we have been in the offseason a lot. So I think that's really great."

After the end of basketball season, the Patriots' first softball game came on April 12. Konschak said his players have barely had any time off. Basketball practices started during the end of volleyball season and then they had a week off between basketball and softball.

Due to being on the track and field team, Satrom had less time than some of her teammates, saying she took a weekend off between the winter and spring sports. Konschak said he gives credit to his players' parents for helping them continue to work hard through each season.

"I've been doing it the last four years but it's nice to stay busy all the time," Rylee said. "It became second nature."

This spring has been busy for many athletes, including Satrom, her team's ace. She also took part in the long jump and the high jump at the 2024 NDHSAA State Track and Field Championships and graduated from high school.

"It's been chaotic," Rylee said. "I just got back from the state track meet. We've been going, going, going. After regional softball, I came back to start practicing for the state tournament and then I got back from the state and I graduated so it's been very busy."

The Patriots softball team is led offensively by Raina Satrom's .529 average with 40 RBIs, while Hudson Zerface and Rylee Satrom lead the team with four home runs each. On the mound, Rylee Satrom has a 10-1 record with a 0.90 ERA in 54 innings pitched. She has 84 strikeouts and only 14 walks. Satrom said her team's best skill is the fact that they are all close friends. Raina said her sister's best pitches are her fastball and her drop changeup.

"I think we like to have fun and I think that carries a long way in our sports, especially high school sports because that's what we mostly want to remember every time we're playing that game," Rylee said. "So when we're having fun we're going to be more successful and having fun with each other is what makes the sport fun."

Over the three days of the tournament, Konschak said he is looking for his entire lineup to make an impact. Konschak said his team's unsung hero is Maysa Larson, who can hit the ball to the opposite field with power.

The Patriots have been a top-two seed in all three state tournaments this year, coming as the No. 2 seed in the volleyball tournament and the top seed in the girls' basketball tournament.

"They've been through it in volleyball," Konschak said. "I think they've lost seven games all year as far as volleyball, basketball and now softball. So the target is always on your back, you know you're gonna get the best from the other team that we're playing and also at the same time it does help with their confidence a little bit too. In that region tournament when we played Thompson, they did not want to have to play a second game to make the state tournament. They wanted to take care of it in the first game and that gives these girls so much confidence, so much momentum going forward."

The Satrom sisters have formed a battery this year with Rylee on the mound and Raina behind the plate, which Konschak said makes his life easy and speeds up the game.

"The good coaches are calling pitches, they're calling pitches and the catcher has to know, the pitcher knows as well," Konschak said. "I don't do that. I don't call pitches because Raina and Rylee, they have this connection, obviously, being twins where they know what locations are working great. If we're going through the game and I see something that we would want to do, she does it. She just gets it, if it needs to be low and outside, if she's (an opponent) on the fastball, she knows she can throw that changeup."

The Patriots won the basketball state championship at the Jamestown Civic Center. Konschak said he and his team have joked that they feel like Jamestown is their second home and they are excited to go back to some of their favorite restaurants in town.

The Patriots open their state tournament at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, when they take on Velva/Drake-Anamoose at Lyle "Trapper" Lawrence Field. The Patriots and the 10-9 Aggies have not played yet this season.

"We played them for an inning and a half last year in the mid-season madness they have in Fargo and there was kind of some contention in that game a little bit. We hit their pitcher with a pitch and there was some words back and forth," Konschak said. "There's kind of a little rivalry there so that makes it interesting."

Raina Satrom said finishing her career with a state title alongside her sister Rylee would be the perfect way to end the season.

"I think there would be no better way to end it," Raina said. "We wanted that state championship in volleyball, didn't quite make it, got that one in state basketball and just to finish it off with softball would probably make it the best year truly and a good way to end our sporting careers."