Adapted Softball, PI Division: Sitzmann, DU secure another crown
Posted: Saturday, June 3, 2023 - 6:11 PM
It seemed somewhat poetic and just that Dakota United senior shortstop Fiona Sitzmann ended her Adapted Athletics career with a nifty fielding play. Her range on a throw that drew her to the right side of second base allowed her to apply a tag to secure Dakota United’s 13-6 victory over Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka in the championship game of the PI Division of the Adapted Softball State Tournament on Saturday, June 3 at Chanhassen High School.
It was Dakota United’s second consecutive PI Division state championship and third since 2019. No state tournaments were held in 2020 and 2021, respectively, because of the global pandemic. Overall, it was Dakota United’s sixth PI Division state crown in softball since 2006. In that span, the Hawks had finished runner-up three times.
With the conclusion of the adapted softball season, it drew a close to another stellar career of a student-participant affiliated with the Dakota United program. Sitzmann, a student at Eagan High School, began her adapted athletics career with Dakota United as a seventh-grader.
“We were a really good program before she started playing with us,” Hawks head coach Brett Kosidowski said. “When she arrived, though, she took us to another level.”
Sitzmann finished her prep career with 11 state championships over the adapted athletic offerings of soccer, floor hockey and softball. Throughout her career, she was the type of player that was able to pick spots to lead, both through her play and calm demeanor. During the soccer season last fall, she scored three goals in a championship game win.
On Saturday, she picked spots to lead the Hawks, be it through long flyballs that would advance runners, punching a single down the line that created havoc on the basepath or reassuring a Hawks’ defense that was seeing a much different Robins’ team that they had defeated 16-2 earlier in the season.
“I don’t know if I will ever be able to experience anything more amazing than being a part of this team and program,” Sitzmann said. “I am very grateful that I have had the opportunities to be a part of this. It will be a time in my life that I will cherish forever.”
While Eagan High School had its commencement ceremony Saturday, Sitzmann said the decision to stay with her teammates was an easy one, a choice, she added, that a leader would make.
“It was important for me to stay and be with this team,” she said. “They are a big part of my life. I wanted to do my part to help. I am so excited to celebrate with them again.”
Sophomore pitcher Cayden Needham carved out heroics in the championship game with a two-run triple in the fourth inning and seventh-grade third baseman Bennett Hermann gave the Hawks a seven-run advantage going into the seventh inning with a run-scoring single.
Dakota United (13-0) scored at least 10 runs in each of its victories this season.
“The kids have set the tone for all the success we’ve had,” Kosidowski said. “Other kids see what we are doing and want to be a part of it.”
Third place: Senior Joey Tonna had three hits and scored four times to send Anoka-Hennepin to a 13-5 victory over Rochester in the third-place game.
Consolation: Sophomore first baseman Badou Sowe had four hits and knocked in two runs to give Osseo an 11-5 victory over Minneapolis South in the consolation final.