There was some rust-busting going on at Trapper Field Tuesday evening.
The Jamestown High School softball team kicked off the 2021 season with a home-opener against Dickinson. The Midgets cruised to a pair of wins, outscoring the Jays 13-1 and 15-1. The Blue Jays will host Williston in a doubleheader on Friday. Game No. 1 is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m.
"I told them you have to put it in perspective," JHS head coach Marissa Drenth said of the Jays' first games in 22 months. "If we don't do everything we wanted to exactly the way we wanted to, it's fine. Now we know where we are at and now we get better and we come play again on Friday.
"There were positives. There were girls battling at the plate, we turned a really good double play, we had a pitcher come in and finish a game, positive attitudes."
Adrenaline must have been pumping in Payton Gall's veins as she let the first pitches of her senior campaign fly. After walking leadoff batter Mataya Mortensen, Gall ripped off pitches that ended up hitting batters Baylee Berg and Taya Hopfauf to load up the bases.
Gall went 4 1/3 innings, allowing 13 runs on 16 hits and striking out one. Katie Falk threw two-thirds of an inning in relief. Falk toed the rubber for the Jays in the second game, allowing 25 hits and 15 runs over the five innings. The sophomore tallied two strikeouts and walked one batter.
"Defensively we just need to clean up some of the bobbles," Drenth said. "I mean, we're stopping the ball, we're keeping it in front of us, but then an errant throw here or a bobble there is the difference between getting the out and not. It's just the small things."
The Midgets ended up scoring just once in the first inning when Reese Hauck stole home. The Jays held Dickinson to their lone run until midway through game No. 1 when Hopfauf scored off a base hit from Paige Balliet. The Blue Jays' bats got shut down early, not earning a hit until No. 9 batter Marin Rasmussen powered one through the gap in the bottom of the third.
"This is her first year playing a lot of varsity time but she did a great job today," Drenth said of Rasmussen. "She's put in a lot of work -- just works hard in the offseason and during the summer season in general. She did a great job tracking down fly balls and did well at the plate."
Rasmussen led the Blue Jays with two hits in two at-bats. The Jays didn't commit a single error in the field. Ella Roaldson had the most chances in the field with four.
Jenna Fischer followed Rasmussen's lead and kept her eye on the ball when she was up to bat and when she was behind home plate.
The JHS junior hit the ball between the right and center fielders to help put the Jays on the board. Fischer's double sent starting pitcher Gall home making it a 6-1 ball game. The junior catcher set up camp behind home plate all 10 innings and made some impressive dives to clinch a handful of outs.
"Jenna does a great job," Drenth said. "She does a great job communicating with pitchers ... she's athletic so she is powerful naturally and then she does a good job of keeping it simple -- seeing the ball into the bat, seeing it to contact -- she does a good job for us."
The Midgets capitalized on some Blue Jay bobbles in the fifth inning, scoring seven of their 13 runs to seal the deal -- including a two-run homer by Hauck. The Blue Jays got out of the batter's box pretty quickly in the fourth and fifth innings, but not before Rasmussen nailed down her second hit of the game.
"I would like to see us pick up the bats a little more at opportune times," Drenth said. "We left the bases loaded twice, I would like to see us get some more hits out of situations like that (and) just have a little bit more rally up and down the lineup."
The Jays' lineup was ranked fifth among the WDA teams in the 2021 Preseason Coaches Poll released Tuesday evening.
Coaches said it was challenging this season to rank teams in the preseason poll due to the fact the 2020 season was wiped out due to COVID-19, but it was determined Tuesday that Bismarck High was this season's top dog.
The Demons edged rival Century by a single vote in the 2021 preseason WDA coaches poll. Both the Demons and Patriots shared the 2019 WDA regular-season title. BHS received 73 points and four first-place votes to take the top spot while the Patriots received 72 points and three first-place votes.
The Midgets were third in the voting with 65 points followed closely by Minot was with 62 points. The Blue Jays just barely broke the 50 point mark.
"When everybody is on, we can do some damage," Fischer said.
Dickinson 13, Jamestown 1
DHS 103 27X X -- 13 17 0
JHS 000 10X X -- 1 4 0
JHS: Payton Gall (4.1 IP, 16 H, 13 R, 12 ER, 1 K, 2 BB), Katie Falk (5); DHS: Ava Jahner (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB), W-Jahner, L - Gall
Highlights: JHS -- Marin Rasmussen 2-2, 2B, Jenna Fischer 1-2, 2B, RBI
DHS, Mortenson 3-4, Decker 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, Amy Fridley 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, Jahner 1-1, HR, 2 RBI.
Dickinson 15, Jamestown 1
DHS 413 70X X -- 15 25 1
JHS 100 00X X -- 1 9 0
JHS: Falk; DHS: Jahner, Jaydin Decker (3), W- Jahner (2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 K, 1 BB) , L - Falk (5 IP, 25 H, 15 R, 15 ER, 2 K, 1 BB).
Highlights: JHS -- Falk 2-3, 2B, McKenna Jackson 2-2, 2B, Roaldson 1-3, RBI, Rylee Joseph 2-2, Fischer 1-3, Rasmussen 1-1.
DHS -- Hopfuaf 4-4, HR, RBI, Paige Balliet 3-4, 2 RBI, Reese Hauck 3-4, 2B, HR, 6 RBI, Decker 3-3, 2B, RBI.
Records: Dickinson 2-0, Jamestown 0-2
2021 WDA Girls' Fastpitch Softball Poll
1. Bismarck High (4) 73
2. Century (3) 72
3. Dickinson (2) 65
4. Minot (1) 62
5. Jamestown 51
6. Legacy 41
7. Mandan 35
T8. Watford City 21
T8. Williston 21
10. TMCHS Belcourt 9