In a tournament with 40 teams from all corners of the country, it seems odd, but Dickinson State is opening the national softball tournament against Cal State-San Marcos for the fourth straight year.
The Blue Hawks have some players from California on the roster, so they were excited to be put in the Concordia Bracket in Irvine, California.
DSU could not have started any better.
Brianna Grayson hit a three-run double in the first inning, as the Hawks broke a 1-1 tie and Claudia Torres ended the game with a two-run home run.
Regan Lawrence was sharp on the mound with 7 strikeouts as Dickinson State beat San Marcos 9-1.
"We were able, with two outs, we were able to push one run across, then, with bases loaded, Brianna Grayson came up with a huge double in the gap that cleared the bases," says Blue Hawks Head Coach Kristen Fleury. "Then, she got a little aggressive and got thrown out at third, but taking the three runs and clearing the bases, we'll definitely take that over anything. We kind of took momentum of the game at that point. San Marcos came out hot and they came out aggressive. They were loud and they were into it and kind of shut them down right there in that inning."
Fleury added the opening round victory was a little more special because of who the Hawks beat.
"The fact that we were able to beat them in a walk off 9-1, that was kind of sweet for us," she said. "Regan Lawrence has thrown against them the last four years in the first game so she's very, very deserving of this win with her performance out there. It was exciting. Before we came into this tournament, and the seeding and brackets were set, I made a bet with our third baseman, thinking there were 38 other teams and we wouldn't play them and those are the chances and we ended up playing them and they could have taken us a little lightly because they had us the last three years. We were the better team today and taking away nothing from what they've done and we still have a lot of work to do, but it was definitely a fun win for us."
DSU will play at 11:30 a.m. mountain time on Tuesday against Madonna University, who beat the number one seed and the host team Concordia, California, 4-3.