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For the Valley City State University softball team, the final game of a four game series against Dickinson State was a bit refreshing.
After scoring no runs in the first three games of the series, including a 4-0 loss earlier Friday, the Vikings finally started producing runs, held a short lead, and nearly overcame a three-run deficit in the top of the seventh inning.
But a game-ending grounder by Hayley Bevan dashed the Vikingsâ€™ hope for a win and gave Dickinson the series sweep, ending the game with an 8-7 final score.
â€śA win there would have been huge to finish the week, but with the way weâ€™ve been slumping off offensively to this point, hopefully that last game will pick us out of it a little bit,â€ť VCSU coach Chad Slyter said. â€śYou know, if we put up seven runs in a game, Iâ€™m pretty confident that weâ€™re going to win some of those.â€ť
Throughout the two-day series, the Vikings had plenty of good pitching from Katie McBride and Jen Shadlock, but couldnâ€™t put together an offense around them.
In the final game, the Vikings played heavy on the small ball to get runs.
In the first inning, leadoff hitter Shayna Taffinder reached base on a walk. She then stole two bases and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cyndi Fogel to go up 1-0.
The Vikings then got another run in the third inning when Adrianna Boychuk tripled to center field and scored on wild pitch.
The Blue Hawks tied it 2-2 in the fourth inning by stringing together hits into the gaps in the outfield, but VCSU took the lead back in the fifth by having its first two batters hit by pitches, one walked to load the bases. The hit batters scored in succession on a sacrifice fly and an infield ground ball.
Dickinson took the lead back one final time with a four-run fifth inning, largely from a three-run home run by Vanessa Adame, and got insurance in the bottom of the sixth to make it 8-5 heading into Valley Cityâ€™s final at bat.
In their final at-bat, Figol and Hilary Kulczewski immediately reached base on singles. Figol later scored on a passed ball and Kulczewski scored on a single by Jane Pettit. Pettit eventually moved to third, but the game ended on Bevanâ€™s grounder.
Slyter was pleased with his teamâ€™s ability to get runs throughout the game based on small ball.
â€śThatâ€™s what we talked about (Thursday) is that our offense needs to do those things,â€ť he said. â€śWe need to steal bases, we need to move runners over, and hit behind runners when weâ€™ve got two outs and those types of things. So I thought we did a pretty good of that in the second game.â€ť
The Vikings (14-15, 0-6 DAC) return to the road Wednesday with a double header against NCAA Division II opponent Minot State.