Bella Dean Taking the Summit League by Storm
THE BISON FRESHMAN LED THE SUMMIT LEAGUE IN HOMERUNS (9) AND HELPED THE BISON TO THE 3-SEED FOR THE SUMMIT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT.
FARGO, N.D. —
From her days at Sherrard High School in Illinois, Bella Dean has been hitting homeruns. That power has followed her to Fargo, leading the Bison and the entire Summit League in homers (9).
“A lot of my success actually comes from my teammates,” said Dean. “I can’t get those RBIs if they don’t get on base… my homeruns come from picking pitches, so, the dugout is always yelling what pitch is coming and a lot of that success has came from my teammates, that’s for sure.”
Dean says one teammate in particular senior, senior and infield partner Skylar Padgett, has been a huge help for her.
“Skyler Padgett… she’s our senior second baseman,” said Dean. “She has pushed me since day one that I came in here and helped me become better every single day.”
Between juggling school, softball and all the attention she’s getting, Dean is one of the best freshmen in the Summit League. Whether it be throwing runners out at first base, or hitting the ball over her opponent’s head, Dean is a front runner for freshman of the year.
“It would be pretty cool to get that, but I’m not too focused on that right now,” said Dean. “I’m more worried about the team success.
Coach Darren Mueller knows freshmen can be unpredictable, but Dean has really impressed.
“You know, every place she has been she’s done a great job,” said Mueller. “You don’t know what you’re gonna get with freshman sometimes, and I think what Bella has done this year has been very impressive, and it shows all the hard work that she’s putting in this year.”
But the road to Bison softball wasn’t easy for Dean. She dealt with injuries throughout her high school career and is glad coach Mueller and the Bison brought her in with full confidence.
“I stepped foot in Fargo and on campus I just knew this is home and this is where I need to be,” said Dean. “Injuries have definitely been a pain for sure. But, [Coach] Darren, Gerice [Olson] and Kayti [Grable] picked me up knowing that I had been injured and they have helped me rehab and they’ve been completely fine with injuries I’ve had in the past and not let that stop me as a player I am.” Dean continued, “I just knew that this would be home and this is where I want to come in. It’s just been easy ever since I’ve been here.”
Dean sat out the final two games of the regular season nursing an injury. The Bison hope that she’s able to suit up this week as they begin their run at a Summit League championship.
“[I’m] really proud of what she’s done,” said Mueller. “Hopefully we can get her back for this last stretch of the season.”
“Our goal obviously is to win the conference tournament,” said Dean. “So, we just need to keep pushing, keep fighting and keep getting better every day in practice.”
The Bison begin the tournament as the 3-seed taking on Kansas City.
Summit League Tournament Schedule:
1 | 5) North Dakota V 4) South Dakota –Wednesday, May 10 | 2 p.m.
2 | 3) North Dakota State V 6) Kansas City, May 10 | 4:30 p.m.
The winner of game 1 will play 1-seeded South Dakota State on Thursday at 11 a.m.
The winner of game 2 will play 2-seeded Omaha on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
For the full Summit League Tournament bracket, copy/past the following link:
photo cred: NDSU Athletics