Jimmies win DAC by winning 3 of 4They would have liked to have won them all, but after taking 3 out of 4 against Dickinson State University in Jamestown over the weekend the Jimmie softball team essentially completed what they set out to accomplish.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
They would have liked to have won them all, but after taking 3 out of 4 against Dickinson State University in Jamestown over the weekend the Jimmie softball team essentially completed what they set out to accomplish.
With the three victories, Jamestown College will be remembered as the final softball champions of the Dakota Athletic Conference. Both the Blue Hawks and the Jimmies wrapped up DAC play at 8-4 to top the conference, but with their three victories over the Blue Hawks the Jimmies sewed up the tiebreaker with head-to-head victories.
Jamestown College and Dickinson State split a pair of games in Dickinson back on March 24, but those games were non-conference contests.
Jamestown College (24-17 overall) got the ball rolling with victories of 10-2 and 8-4 over the Blue Hawks at McElroy Park on Saturday. A rough top of the seventh stung the Jimmies in the first game on Sunday, as Dickinson State (24-21 overall) bounced back with a 4-3 win, but Jamestown College finished off the 4-game weekend with a 4-2 victory in the finale.
“Every game came down to one or two swings, as it turned out,” JC head coach Kevin Gall said. “Even with (Saturday’s game) when we won 10-2, it was basically two swings because we had a grand slam and a three-run shot in that one.”
Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the third in the first game on Saturday, Jamestown College junior leftfielder Allison Roper broke the game wide open driving in four runs on a grand slam to center off Dickinson State hurler Regan Lawrence.
Lawrence later gave up a three-run bomb to Jimmie junior first baseman Kate Johnson in the bottom of the sixth as the Jimmies rolled 10-2.
Jessica Lees picked up the victory for the Jimmies. Lees struck out four and walked three through all six innings.
A 4-run bottom of the second in Game 2 on Saturday propelled the Jimmies to an 8-4 victory. Jimmie senior centerfielder Heather Haegele clubbed a 2-RBI double in the inning.
Junior D.J. Johnson earned that win for the Jimmies, allowing 4 earned runs and collecting 3 strikeouts through 7 innings.
“That’s how we approached it,” Gall said. “It was going to come down to one or two swings and whoever made the fewest mistakes was probably going to win.”
Jamestown College held a 3-0 lead over the Blue Hawks heading into the final inning of play during Game 1 on Sunday, but Dickinson State was able to get to Lees and ended up plating 3 runs in the inning to notch the win.
“They started hitting the ball a little harder and we made a couple of defensive mistakes where we left a base open and gave them a base,” Gall said. “We had our chances to win that one, but we didn’t. In the bottom half we hit three balls hard, but it was fruitless because we hit it right at people three times.”
The two teams combined for 13 hits, but all of them were singles. Lees shouldered the loss, leaving the game in the sixth and was credited with allowing all four runs, three of them earned.
Jamestown College nearly suffered the same fate in the final game, as D.J. Johnson gave up 2 runs in the top of the seventh, but Johnson and the Jimmies were eventually able to close the door on a 4-2 victory.
The Jimmies struck for 3 runs in the bottom of the second to take command early. Jimmie junior shortstop Rachel Ivelia delivered an RBI double in the inning, and junior catcher Janelle Spear followed that up with a 2-run homer to left-center an on 0-2 count.
Taysia Kaufman shouldered the loss for the Blue Hawks.
“I would have liked to have seen us close it out a little bit better in both games (on Sunday),” Gall said. “But we put enough good swings together and made as many plays as we needed to defensively to win 3 out of 4.”
Kate Johnson, the Jimmies cleanup batter, was riding a 19-game hitting streak heading into the weekend, which was snapped in the final game on Sunday. But the British Columbia native’s 22-game hitting streak is a new Jamestown College record.
Johnson went 6-for-10 over the weekend, with 2 doubles, a homer, 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Johnson has 53 RBIs and 10 homers on the season.
Jimmie junior third baseman Kelsie Jensen had just 3 hits over the weekend (3-for-12), but she made them count. Jensen homered and doubled, while driving in 6 runs and scoring three more.
Jamestown College got solid production out of the bottom half of its order, especially with Roper at No. 8 on the lineup card. Roper went 6-for-11 with a homer, a double, 4 RBI’s and 4 runs, while Spear, who batted No. 7 in two games, went 2-for-5 with a homer, 2 RBIs and 2 runs.
Haegele, the Jimmies’ leadoff batter, wrapped up the weekend batting 5-for-12 with a double, 3 RBIs and 5 runs. In both of her victories over the weekend, D.J. Johnson collected 8 strikeouts and allowed just 1 walk and 6 runs in 56 batters faced.
The Jimmies should receive an invitation to the A.I.I Tournament, which is scheduled for May 3-5 in Columbus, Ga. Seeding for that tournament will be announced on Tuesday.
The DAC Tournament is slated for April 28-29 in Mayville.
“I’ve got a feeling we are going to get an invitation to the A.I.I tournament,” Gall said. “We won 3 out of our 6 games against Dickinson, so that maybe gives us an upper hand on them as far as the seeds go. But we’re just happy to be able to have a chance for the national tournament.”
The NAIA National Tournament is scheduled for May 17-23 in Gulf Shores, Ala. The top two finishers in the A.I.I. tourney are sent to nationals.
But the regular season isn’t over yet for the Jimmies. Jamestown College hosts Mayville State on Tuesday in a pair of non-conference games, before heading to face Briar Cliff on Thursday.
“(Mayville State) has got some tough hitters and they give everyone problems, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us,” Gall said. “Then we go to Briar Cliff, who have had a pretty decent year too, so we’re going to continue to play good competition and we hope to keep playing as well as we have been playing.”
The Jimmies are 3-1 against Mayville State this season.
At McElroy Park
Jamestown College 10, Dickinson State 2
Blue Hawks 100 001 — 2 5 2
Jimmies 105 004 — 10 11 1
Regan Lawrence and Aubrey Ayala. Jessica Lees and Kristi Michaud. W—Lees. L—Lawrence. 2B—JC, Kelsie Jensen, Kate Johnson, Michaud. HR—DS, Kristy Ortiz; JC, Johnson, Allison Roper. SB—DS, Erika Nowack; JC, Kelsie DeBroeck. LOB—DS, 7; JC, 6.
Jamestown College 8, Dickinson State 4
Blue Hawks 010 000 3 — 4 8 2
Jimmies 141 002 x — 8 1 1
Taysia Kaufman, Tiffany Morgan (5) and Aubrey Ayala. D.J. Johnson and Janelle Spear. W—Johnson. L—Kaufman. 2B—DS, Morgan; JC, Heather Haegele, Kate Johnson, Allison Roper. HR—DS, Lindsey Sullivan; JC, Kelsie Jensen. LOB—DS, 7; JC, 7.
At McElroy Park
Dickinson State 4, Jamestown College 3
Blue Hawks 100 000 3 — 4 6 2
Jimmies 101 001 0 — 3 7 2
Regan Lawrence and Britney Miller. Jessica Lees, Steph Bolt (7) and Kristi Michaud. W—Lawrence. L—Lees. SB—DS, Jessica Huseby, Janell LaRont. LOB—DS, 8; JC, 6.
Jamestown College 4, Dickinson State 2
Blue Hawks 000 000 2 — 2 7 1
Jimmies 030 010 x — 4 4 1
Taysia Kaufman and Britney Miller. D.J. Johnson and Janelle Spear. W—Johnson. L—Kaufman. 2B—JC, Rachel Ivelia. HR—JC, Spear. LOB—DS, 6; JC, 5.
Records: Jamestown College 24-17, 8-4 DAC; Dickinson State 24-21, 8-4 DAC.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org