Region title: clinched
It’s beginning to become a tall task to keep track of the Bishop Ryan softball team’s notable individual performances.
A no-hitter here, a multi-homer game there.
Senior first baseman Sydney Marmon stole the spotlight Tuesday at South Hill Complex with a tiebreaking two-run home run in the nightcap of a doubleheader with Dickinson. The fifth-inning blast proved to be the difference in the Lions’ 6-4 victory, which followed a 15-1 rout in the opener.
With the sweep, Ryan (21-2 overall, 20-1 region) secured a share of its second straight West Region regular-season title and claimed the top seed at the region tournament. The Lions own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the second-place Midgets (20-4, 18-4).
“It’s huge. We can take that first day and focus on a good, solid practice at regionals and be sharp the next morning,” Ryan coach Julie Stewart said.
Marmon’s moon shot put junior Hannah Stewart’s stellar outing on the backburner, in part because Stewart’s gaudy numbers have become routine.
Against Dickinson, Stewart pounded three home runs – all no-doubters – and collected nine RBIs. She reached base with her first six plate appearances until finally recording an out on a long fly ball in the second game.
She drilled two four-baggers against Century on Monday and now boasts eight on the year. But she hasn’t been hunting for homers.
“After you hit one, you can’t go up next time thinking you’re going to hit another,” Stewart said. “You’ve got to think about making contact. I’ve learned the hard way if you think about it too much, then it doesn’t end well.”
Stewart (9-2), who tossed a four-hitter with two walks and six strikeouts in the opener, finished the day 5-for-6 with a walk and five runs scored. Her first two homers were three-run shots and her last long ball plated two.
“You can’t make any mistakes because she makes you pay, big time,” Dickinson coach Bill Butterfield said. “She’s got good patience at the plate. She really works on making you pitch her her pitch.”
Stewart’s final homer gave Ryan a 2-0 lead in the nightcap, but Dickinson showed some grit, posting the next three runs.
Dickinson senior catcher Alexius Yates tied it in the second with a two-run homer off Ryan senior Brieann Backes, and the Midgets seized the lead with an unearned run in the third.
Ryan returned the favor with two in the bottom of the third before the Midgets plated one in the top of the fifth to knot it at 4.
Marmon, whose error led to Dickinson’s unearned run, stepped to the plate with one on and two outs. She sent Madison Jahner’s offering well over the center-field fence, aptly atoning for her miscue.
“I was just hoping to myself that I got it because we really needed that hit and we really needed to kind of get back into the game a little bit,” Marmon said. “I was hoping that’d boost us up a little more.”
That was all the help Backes needed.
She allowed seven hits, walked none and struck out 10 in improving to 12-0.
Though the Lions committed two uncharacteristic errors in the nightcap, they still extended their winning streak to 20 games. Julie Stewart said Marmon’s demeanor embodies her team well.
“Once you make a mistake, it’s over,” Stewart said. “The only thing you can do is learn from it and move on and try to make something happen as she did at the plate. That’s awesome to see. I’m proud of her. That was a big hit at a big time.”
The Lions play a makeup game with Minot High at 6:30 p.m. today. A win would claim the West Region title outright.
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.