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Valley City State pulls away from Waldorf, takes NSAA twin bill

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Matt Oliver

VALLEY CITY, North Dakota – Valley City State University pulled away from the Waldorf University softball team, winning the first two matchups of a four-game North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) series during Friday’s doubleheader.

Twelve hits propelled the Vikings (28-10, 9-4) to a 5-3 victory in the opener while a pair of homers boosted them to an 11-2 win in six innings during the nightcap.

Sophomore Kaylie Brindley provided a double for the Warriors (14-24, 7-11) in Game 1. Seniors Jessica Abrahamson, Maggie Eden, Andrea Hartmann, Maggie Hawley, sophomores Hattie Hupke and Taylor Bell contributed singles.

Valley City State’s Cejay Hilhorst went 2-for-4 at the plate, turning in a double and two RBIs. The Vikings received two hits apiece from Katarina Boychuk, Morgan Nalley and Tatum Lundin. Boychuk and Nalley each drove in runs.

Nalley (16-5) earned the win. She notched six strikeouts, issued one walk and allowed three unearned runs on seven hits in six innings.

Kathleen Gallais secured her first save of the season, recording a strikeout and closing out the seventh inning.

Hawley (4-7) was handed the loss. She walked two batters and yielded five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in four innings. Brindley gave up two hits while working the final two innings.

Bell and Hupke scored the game’s first two runs following a throwing error in the top of the first inning.

Hilhorst cracked an RBI single in Valley City State’s half of the first.

Nalley tied the score at 2-all in the third as she knocked in a run and reached on a fielding error.

The Vikings built a three-run advantage in the fifth. Hilhorst smacked an RBI double while Cassie Pautz and Boychuk belted run-scoring singles.

Brindley scored Waldorf’s final run in the sixth on a fielding error.

The Warriors stranded eight base runners in Game 1, and Valley City State left 10 runners on base.

Waldorf was limited to three hits during the nightcap as Hupke, Bell and Eden produced singles.

The Vikings pounded out 15 hits. Hilhorst did damage in the batter’s box, finishing 3-for-4 with two homers and six RBIs. Kelsey Hamade went 3-for-3 with an RBI single. Katie Cameron drove in a run, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Nalley tallied two hits, including a run-scoring single. Pautz added a double.

Gallais (8-2) picked up the win. She fanned 10 batters and gave up two runs while scattering three hits in five innings. Ashley Metcalf pitched the sixth inning, finishing with a strikeout and a walk.

Sophomore Briley Sullivan (4-3) was hit with the loss. She struck out a batter, walked one and surrendered eight runs on 11 hits in three and two-thirds innings.

Brindley issued a walk and relinquished three runs on four hits in the final one and one-third innings.

Hilhorst went deep with a two-run blast in the first.

Boychuk connected for an RBI sacrifice fly in the second, and Hamade drove in a run with a bunt single to give Valley City State a quick 4-0 lead.

Hupke crossed home plate following a fielding error in the fourth, and Abrahamson delivered an RBI sac fly to pull the Warriors within two runs.

The Vikings plated four runs in the fifth behind five hits and two errors. Taylor Schroeder scored on a throwing error, Cameron drilled an RBI double while Hilhorst and Nalley singled in runs to boost Valley City State to an 8-2 advantage.

Hilhorst smashed a three-run homer in the sixth, ending the game on account of the eight-run mercy rule.

The Vikings currently hold fourth place in the NSAA standings, three games out of first place in the conference race. Waldorf sits in sixth. The two teams wrap up the weekend series on Saturday in a 1 p.m. twin bill.