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Midgets dominate Mandan in shutout victory to advance

May 26—DICKINSON — It takes guts, strength and fortitude to make it through the postseason, and Dickinson High School showed all three in Thursday's shutout win in the Class A Western Dakota Association Postseason Softball Tournament over Mandan at Bravera Field. The 5-0 victory featured a standout performance on the mound from junior hurler Ava Jahner, who fanned 15 batters on her way to a 2-hit victory with only 3 scattered walks.

"I was pretty confident in us, because I know that in the end even if they do get up a couple runs we're gonna fight back," Jahner said.

The win provided revenge of sorts, as the Midgets split games with Mandan (8-14) on May 16 and 18, with the most recent being a 7-9 loss in game 2 of the road-set.

But even more crucial to the win for Dickinson was the patience the Midgets showed throughout the game and not panicking when the runs simply wouldn't cross the plate. While Jahner was sending Braves batters back to the dugout, left-and-right, DHS had trouble in the first inning taking a lead despite loading the bases on the first three hitters: Jenna Decker, Baylee Berg and Jahner on singles from Decker and Jahner and a walk to Berg.

"We didn't get frustrated at all, but I mean we weren't quick for our adjustments that we needed to make but at the end we finally did and sometimes you have to go to the small-ball which is what we reverted to," DHS manager Amanda Mickey said. "i thought we had great success with that."

The next two innings went much the same way with Dickinson stranding two baserunners, but the fourth inning brought a breakthrough when Morgan Koffler reached on a walk and was sacrificed over to second by Madison Wegleitner then subsequently reached third on an error by the Mandan catcher before being plated on a ground-out from freshman catcher Myah Merry. Merry ended up going 1-for-2 on the night with a pair of RBI and a run.

The fourth inning proved to be telling for Jahner and the team, as Mandan saw two singles and a pair of stolen bases place runners at second and third in scoring position. But Jahner was able to settle down and strike out two of the next three batters to hold the lead and motivate her teammates.

"Just having a lot of faith in my defense, we have a super-solid defense behind me so just having faith that they're going to get those balls and using their technique to get those outs," Jahner said.

The Midgets stranded another baserunner in the fifth, but the big inning awaited in the sixth as Kyndall Peterson lined a homer over the left-field wall with the winds blowing in at gale-strength to give DHS some insurance. But the Midgets (23-7) weren't done by a long-shot, as Koffler singled down the third-base line and Wegleitner singled to right, then Merry drove Koffler home on a single of her own for a 3-0 lead. Then, Braelynn Farnsworth reached on a sacrifice-bunt that turned into an infield hit and Decker came up at the top of the order and doubled home both Wegleitner and Merry for a 5-0 lead.

"Hats-off to the defense," Mickey said. "They played a helluva game, and that's what kept us in and shutting Mandan down even when they got a runner at third a couple times and less-than two outs we still kept our composure and AJ did a great job in the circle."

In the top of the seventh, Jahner struck out two batters looking and the airtight Midgets defense did the rest of the work, with the win sending DHS to the 5 p.m. game on Friday, May 26 against Jamestown. Dickinson was swept at home by Jamestown last week on May 19 to close out the regular-season schedule, 2-4 and 11-1 in a run-rule loss, so it's a game DHS is sure to be anticipating to hopefully advance in the tournament.

"Jamestown is a fantastic team and we've had them picked number-one since day-one," Mickey said. "So we know we're in for it and we've gotta play everything right: When we get our opportunities to score we need to take advantage of them."

For more information about the Dickinson High School Midget softball team, please keep reading The Dickinson Press and/or visit

https://www.wdasports.org/softball.html

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Box Score

MHS 000 000 0xx — 0 2 2

DHS 000 104 xxx — 5 10 1

Batting

2B — Jenna Decker. HR — Kyndall Peterson. TB — Myah Merry, Ava Jahner 3, Decker 3, Morgan Koffler, Madison Wegleitner, Braelynn Farnsworth, Peterson 4. HBP — Baylee Berg.

Pitching

Jahner — 7IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 15K.