May 1, 2014
THIS WEEK: Dakota State (10-30 overall record) travels to Jamestown, N.D. this weekend as they prepare for the upcoming NAIA Unaffiliated North Star Athletic Association/Frontier Conference Softball Postseason Tournament. The Trojans face the top-seed Dickinson State (N.D.) (35-13) in the opening round at 10 a.m. Friday morning on Field 11. The postseason tournament games will be held at the Lyle Lawrence Field with the championship game scheduled for Sunday.
DSU NO. 6 SEED IN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: Dakota State is the No. 6 seed when 2014 NAIA Unaffiliated NSAA/Frontier Softball Championship opens on Friday morning, May 2. Dickinson State (N.D.), who had won 18 straight games to conclude their regular-season with an overall record of 35-13, claims the No. 1 seed in the conference qualifying tournament. Valley City State (N.D.) is the No. 2 seed with a 21-19 overall record and won the first-ever NSAA Softball regular-season conference title. The Vikings will play No. 5 seed Presentation (S.D.) (19-24) at 10:15 a.m. on Field 8. Host-team Jamestown (N.D.) (21-21), No. 3 seed in the tournament, faces No. 4 seed Great Falls (Mont.) at 12 noon. Mayville State (N.D.) (4-24) did not qualify for the postseason qualifying tournament. The postseason runs through Sunday, May 4 with the championship game. Pairings may need to be adjusted after the outcomes of Games 5 and 6 on Friday afternoon.
AUTOMATIC BID FOR NAIA NATIONALS: The NAIA Unaffiliated NSAA/Frontier tournament will be played according to the NAIA-Softball Coaches' Association Six-Team Double-Elimination Bracket. The tournament champion receives an automatic berth to the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round, which will be played on May 12-14 at ten different campus sites announced by the NAIA. The NAIA will be having a Selection Show video on May 6 on www.naia.org, announcing the pairings and brackets for the NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round.
TOURNAMENT LIVE COVERAGE: The University of Jamestown (N.D.) had set up a tournament host page on http://www.jimmieathletics.com/article/1852.php. The Jimmies will also provide a live stats/play-by-play for each game in the tournament. To view the live stats and play-by-play, go to http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Tournament/TournamentPage.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&tour=1341. All links will be available on www.dsuathletics.com.
PAIR OF FIRST-EVER COLLEGIATE HOME RUNS: A pair of DSU softball players smashed their first-ever collegiate home run last week. Elizabeth Rubalcava drilled a grand slam with one out in Trojans' 14-6 victory at Presentation (S.D.) on April 24 in Aberdeen. Stephanie Sandoval added another first-ever collegiate home run in 10-6 loss at Valley City State (N.D.) on April 26 in Valley City, N.D.
TROJANS FINISH FOURTH IN NSAA SOFTBALL STANDINGS: The Trojans finished fourth in the inaugural North Star Athletic Association Softball conference. DSU concluded their 2014 conference schedule with a 5-9 record. After opening up the NSAA play with a 0-2 record, Valley City State (N.D.) claimed the first-ever NSAA conference regular-season title by reeling off 10 straight NSAA conference victories (10-2 record). Jamestown (N.D.) finished second with a 10-4 NSAA conference record. Presentation (S.D.) is third with 7-7 record and Mayville State (N.D.) placed fifth with 2-12 record.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State snapped their five-game losing streak after pounding Presentation (S.D.) in the first game of the NSAA doubleheader on April 24 in Aberdeen. The Trojans slammed three home runs to cruise pass the Saints 14-6. PC defeated DSU 13-5 in five innings in the second game of the doubleheader, earning a split. Valley City State (N.D.) swept the NSAA doubleheader over Dakota State on April 26 in Valley City, N.D. The Vikings posted scores of 5-1 and 10-6 to win their 10th straight NSAA conference game.
POWER HITTING: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website as of Thursday, two different Trojans softball players are listed in the NAIA's Top 50 in home runs, triples and slugging percentage. Samantha Mitchell ranks sixth in the nation in slugging percentage of .905. She is 14th in the nation in home runs per game (0.3) and 20th in triples per game (0.1). Elizabeth Rubalcava and Mitchell each rank No. 23 in the nation in total triples this season with five triples. Mitchell produces a total of 11 home runs this season, which is 27th-best in the nation.
MAKING DEFENSIVE PLAYS: Brittany Hill accumulates a total of 316 putouts this season, ranking her 22nd most putouts in the nation. She is 23rd in the nation in total chances with 336. Hill ranks 13th in the nation in both chances (8.4) and putouts (7.9) per game. Samantha Mitchell is 36th in the nation in assists per game (2.4).
QUICK LEADERS: Samantha Mitchell leads the Trojans' offensive attack with a batting average of .438, tallying a total of 46 hits in 105 plate appearances this season. She had accumulated a total of 11 home runs this season for the Trojans. Mitchell also leads the team with 36 RBIs (1.0 RBIs per game). Brittany Hill produces a batting average of .386 with 33 runs batted in. Erica Betler swipes 25 bases this season and leads NSAA/Frontier in stolen bases. Rachel Hughes leads DSU on the pitching mound with an earned runs average of 4.55 (44 earned runs) in 67 2/3 innings. Katie Slibowski records a total of 46 strikeouts from the pitching mound to lead the Trojans. Hughes leads the team with five pitching victories.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State softball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
LIVE STATS/PLAY-BY-PLAY: Dakota State will be providing live stats/play-by-play in all home contests. The live stats/play-by-play is available on http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/TeamPage.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&sea=NAIWBA_2014&team=1447 and click on the letter "W' to view the live stats/play-by-play. The link can also be found on the DSU Athletics home page on www.dsuathletics.com.
UP NEXT: The NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round takes place on May 12 through May 14 at ten different campus sites announced by the NAIA. The selection show will be available online on www.naia.org for pairings and brackets, which will be announced on May 6.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director