Minot swept away

The offense wasn’t there. The defense wasn’t there. And, as a result, the wins weren’t there for the Minot High softball team.

The Majettes surrendered 29 runs on 23 hits and committed six errors in a pair of lopsided defeats to Dickinson on Friday at South Hill Complex.

Minot’s offense wasn’t any better than its defense, mustering four hits over 12 innings. The Majettes went into the final inning of both games without a hit. Dickinson won the opener 16-0 in five innings before completing the sweep with a 13-2 victory in the nightcap.

“They’re a very good team,” Minot coach Gerard Cederstrom said. “They have really good pitching and they hit the ball well and they play good defense. We weren’t on the top of our game and they were.”

The opener began as a pitcher’s duel between Minot senior Lexi Benno and Dickinson’s Haley Butterfield. The two went the first two innings without allowing a hit, but the Midgets (20-2 overall, 16-2 West Region) found their swing soon after while the Majettes’ bats remained cold.

Two of Dickinson’s first three runs scored on wild pitches and Mackee Hoffman and Riana Cooper recorded RBI singles as the Midgets broke open a scoreless game with four runs in the third. The Midgets added eight runs on seven hits in the fourth.

“We kinda talked about it today to narrow our focus a bit and get to the pitches we wanted to hit,” Dickinson coach Bill Butterfield said. “Some girls had some very timely hits with some runners on base.”

All nine Dickinson batters reached base, eight of them reached home. The only Midget not to score, Avery Privratsky, was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice in the fourth. She did have two RBIs as six Midgets drove in at least one run.

Dickinson plated four more runs in the fifth. In the final three innings of the opener the Majettes (9-9, 6-6) committed five errors. They didn’t have a miscue in the opening two frames.

“That unfortunately has become kind of a standard for us to have a bad inning or two and the other team capitalizes on it,” Cederstrom said. “We have to knock that off and just play cleaner.”

Dickinson played cleanly behind Butterfield, who took a no-hitter into the fifth. She allowed a leadoff walk to Minot senior Hannah Schiele to open the game before retiring the next 13 batters. Minot sophomore Kayla Budeau singled up the middle with one out in the fifth to break up the no-hitter.

Butterfield allowed that lone hit over five innings, striking out six.

“Our pitchers pitched very well and we took away some of their opportunities,” Bill Butterfield said. “We made some great catches and we made the plays we were supposed to make.”

Things didn’t improve for the Majettes in the series finale, although they were within arm’s reach of Dickinson up until the sixth inning. The Midgets plated a run in the second, two in the fourth and one in the fifth for a 4-0 lead before scoring nine over the final two frames.

Dickinson brought 22 batters to the plate over the first five innings. It sent 19 hitters to the plate in the final two frames. Minot had 26 plate appearances in the game.

The Majettes again entered the final inning without a hit, trailing 12-0 and three outs away from being swept in a region doubleheader for the first time this season. But Benno’s leadoff double to left-center ended Madison Jahner’s no-hit bid and senior Ashley Gathman drove in Minot’s first run of the series with a single to right field. Budeau singled home Gathman two batters later.

“We had to change our mentality to ‘We can’t go out of this game without at least a hit or a run,’ and then it kept piling up and then finally we got two runs,” Gathman said. “It just so happened it’s not the inning we needed it in.”

Minot plays Bishop Ryan this morning at 9 at South Hill Complex.

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.