By Jessica Priebe, Madison Steier and Marissa Thompson.
Last year, the Dickinson High School Midget’s softball team made their first appearance at a State tournament in the history of softball at their school. They finished with a fifth place victory but have much higher expectations for the coming season.
Returning senior Briana Farnsworth said, “To win State is the biggest thing. But my personal goal is to keep my batting average up and better myself at playing third.”
Coach Bill Butterfield stated that he has high expectations for the team this year, since a majority of the players were starting varsity players last year.
Butterfield said “One more goal for the program was accomplished last year. Expectations are higher [this year].”
The team lost just two starting varsity players from last year.
Farnsworth said, “I think we will adapt quite well because there was a year we lost four starters, and we came back and did even better the following year. The juniors and seniors are going to step up, and I hope the underclassmen will feel the need to step up as well.”
Butterfield said, “You always miss the seniors you lose, but I know that seniors this year are prepared to step in with their leadership. The younger girls will need to step in and help with the leadership. Most of the younger girls are experienced and will contribute on all phases.”
Losing senior Kelsey Lafond, starting pitcher last year, Haley Butterfield has big shoes to fill as a junior starting pitcher.
“Well it’s a little scary, but not too bad. I had a lot of experience pitching last year, and Madi [Jahner] will be with me, too. I’m just going to focus on all the things I usually do. Nothing to worry about, really!” said Haley.
Madi Jahner, freshman, will also need to step up this year. Haley Butterfield has high hopes for her, though.
“I thought she got enough time to get a good feel of what’s there and what to expect. I have high hopes for her really stepping up this year,” said Haley.
During the off season, the Midgets attended numerous open gyms and camps. They worked on skills on their own to improve themselves individually for the upcoming season.
Mackee Hoffmann, junior, starting catcher since the program started, tore her ACL before season last year and could not participate.
“I have been running and doing leg workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays, lifting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and getting the equipment to practice hitting every now and then,” said Hoffman.
Coming back from a year off, Hoffman said, “I’d hope [it’s] not too bad. I need to work on my reaction time and playing a different position, but just catching and hitting, I think I can pick back up with some work.”
The team’s main competitors have always been Minot Ryan and Bismarck Century.
Haley Butterfield said, “I definitely think we can win both of those games. We have most of our team back, and all of us are a year wiser. Century is losing Sarah Lardy so it should be interesting to see what they have for pitching. Minot Ryan might be a little hard because they have pretty much the same team as well. But we have always competed with both of those teams, and if anything, we have an even better shot this year.”
Having an even better shot this year could very well be true for the team.
“We have everyone but two girls coming back. We have two strong pitchers and an all-State third baseman and skillfully filled positions all around. We need to pick up bats this year though. Getting either bigger hits or improving speed and bunting or slapping,” Hoffmann said.
Coach Butterfield’s main goal for his team to achieve this year is for the team to play hard and perform at their best “one game at a time.”
The Midgets started their season with a home game against Bismarck Century on Apr. 4, 2013, at Gress Complex in south Dickinson.