There's something about the second game of doubleheaders that has the Minot High softball team finding success.
For the fourth time this season the Majettes won their series finale. On Thursday, it was an 8-7 victory over Century at South Hill Complex. The Patriots took the opener 4-3 as the teams split for the second time this season.
Minot is 4-2 this season in nightcaps, including a 3-1 record after losing the opener.
Minot High sophomore Kayla Budeau connects on a pitch during the series opener against Century on Thursday at South Hill Complex. Budeau finished 4-for-6 with a double and five RBIs in the series split.
Minot junior center fielder Sam Schiele made five putouts in center field in the series.
"We got to keep going 100 percent," Minot coach Gerard Cederstrom said. "Give it 100 percent all the time and believe in yourself. You can hear the girls talking to each other about believing and going up there and being confident that you're going to do something."
Century brought eight batters to the plate in the first inning of the finale, scoring two runs to grab an early lead. The Patriots took a 3-1 advantage into the bottom of the second before the Majettes (9-7 overall, 6-4 West Region) drew even with a three-run frame. Minot junior Sam Schiele drove in two with a base hit through the right side and scored on a single by senior Lexi Benno.
The score remained unchanged until Minot sophomore Kayla Budeau delivered the Majettes' biggest hit of the series in the fourth. With the bases loaded, Budeau drilled a 1-1 pitch over the center fielder's head, clearing the bases and giving Minot a 7-4 lead. Budeau went 3-for-3 in the the nightcap with five RBIs.
"That was huge," Cederstrom said. "We had runners in scoring position both games and we didn't get a big hit. She came through with a big hit for us there."
Budeau delivered an RBI single in the sixth, which proved to be the difference.
"I just sit back, wait for it, get my hips through and swing," Budeau said. "I was pretty excited."
After a shaky start, which included serving up a solo home run to
Century's Cassidy Miller to lead off the second, sophomore Cassie Askvig settled down in the circle and kept the Patriots' bats at bay. She retired nine straight batters at one point - the final four putouts by senior Ashley Gathman at shortstop.
"We hit some rockets, but you got to give Minot credit, they made the plays,"
Century coach Kevin Ziegler said.
The Patriots (14-8, 8-8) didn't go quietly in the seventh. Century clawed back within one as three of its first four batters reached base and came around to score. Autumn Hysjulien, representing the tying run, was stranded at third as Askvig got Jordan Picard to ground out to second to end the game.
"We've been struggling at the plate this season," Ziegler said. "We're leaving a lot of runs out there. We gotta come around with the bats."
Askvig picked up the win, scattering 10 hits and striking out four.
The Majettes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, plating a run in the first. Gathman blooped a single over the first baseman's head, Schiele to score from third.
Minot recorded three hits in the opening frame, but its bats went cold in the next four innings. The Majettes registered just one hit during that span - a double by Benno - as Miller retired 12 of 15 hitters.
The Patriots took advantage of a few Minot mistakes in the second, scoring all four of their runs during the frame. Century loaded the bases with one out when Hannah Holtz grounded to Benno in the circle. Benno went home with the throw, but sailed it over the head of catcher Jaycie Barstad as Century tied the game at 1. Benno walked the next two batters to give the Patriots a 3-1 advantage.
Century scored its final run when Gathman elected to throw home on a grounder to short instead of getting a sure out at second. Gathman's throw was late and Holtz scored standing up.
"We seem to have an inning where we make mistakes and the other team keeps capitalizing," Cederstrom said.
The Patriots recorded two hits in the inning - both infield singles - and managed just one other the rest of the way.
Gathman and Benno provided the bulk of Minot's offense in the opener, recording six of its eight hits. Gathman tripled to lead off the sixth and scored on an RBI groundout by Askvig to pull the Majettes within 4-2.
The Majettes made a push in the seventh after their first two batters recorded outs. Schiele walked on four pitches, Benno singled to center and Gathman drove in Schiele with an RBI single. But Askvig grounded out to Miller to end it.
Minot hosts Dickinson today at 4:30 p.m. at South Hill Complex.
Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.