GLENDIVE — The Dawson Community College softball team is two wins away from the national tournament.
The Buccaneers, who are coached by Butte native Jim LeProwse, secured the Region 13 championship over the weekend with four straight home wins over the Dakota County Technical College.
“It’s a big, big deal,” LeProwse said of the regional crown. “It’s only happened once here before.”
The Buccaneers will play the yet-to-be-determined Region 11 champ during a best-of-three playoff super-region championship series this weekend in Glendive. The winner of that series will head to the NJCAA Division II national tournament, which is May 13-16 in Clinton, Mississippi.
Dawson also won the Mon-Dak title for the fourth year in a row. LeProwse is in his fifth year as head coach of the Buccaneers, who captured the regional title for the second time under LeProwse.
The Buccaneers, who compiled a 30-10 overall record, went 14-2 in the region and 16-2 in Mon-Dak play.
The regional title was determined by the record, not a tournament this season. So, the Buccaneers knew they would capture the title with four wins Saturday and Sunday and a loss by Williston State.
They won 9-3, 11-3, 10-3 and 16-6. Butte’s Jessica Robertson pitched in the 9-3 and 10-3 wins.
LeProwse learned of a Williston loss Saturday, and he told his team midway through their second game.
“You should have seen their bats take off after that,” LeProwse said. “It went to a whole other level of softball after that.”
Had Williston won, the Buccaneers likely would have lost the tie breaker.
Robertson posted an 11-2 record in her first year at the two-year school. She took a 3.97 ERA into last weekend. That followed three seasons as the ace at Butte High.
Her freshman season at Dawson saw Robertson no-hit the North Dakota State College of Science in March. She also beat the University of Montana in a fall game in September.
The Butte High graduate is one of three pitchers that LeProwse relies on. Cassidy Chester, a sophomore from Park City, Utah, and Sidney Bushard, a freshman from Billings, have also pitched for the Bucs.
Belgrade’s Taylor Hill, a sophomore, is a catcher for the Buccaneers
LeProwse is likely to be named the Mon-Dak coach of the year for the fourth straight season.