Dakota United, synonymous with state championships in the adapted softball PI (Physically Impaired) Division, added another trophy Saturday with a 5-4 victory against Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka at Chanhassen High School. That marks four consecutive titles since 2019 (COVID-19 canceled the 2020 and 2021 state tournaments).

Less expected, however, was Dakota United emerging as state champion in the CI (Cognitively Impaired) Division for the first time in program history. These Hawks also won 5-4, defeating Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville in dramatic fashion on a walk-off single in the seventh inning.

Senior Mark Manwarren ran through coach Scott Oxley's stop sign at third base, losing one of his shoes before ultimately getting thrown out at home plate. The moment was familiar. Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville defeated Dakota United for the 2023 state title thanks in part to a game-saving putout at home.

Dakota United got a second chance in Saturday's rematch as junior Henry Eisele was sent home one play after Manwarren got nailed.

"All I was thinking about was, 'I've got to get home as quick as possible,' " Eisele said.

Waiting for his turn to hit, Kyle Jacobson felt a sinking feeling as Eisele blazed around third base.

"I'll be honest, there were times I thought, 'Here we go again,' because it happened last year," Jacobson said. "But you have to be aggressive in the later innings. So I'm proud of the effort, proud of the team and happy to be a state champion."

Jacobson and his CI Division teammates got to experience a feeling the Hawks' PI squad knows well. In the top of the sixth inning of the PI final, sophomore shortstop Jae Bahma hollered, "It's our game," right before he fielded the ball and stepped on third base to end the inning.

Vocal leadership is usually junior pitcher Cayden Needham's territory. But he was happy to share vocals with Bahma, who missed the state tournament last season because of a broken foot.

The seventh inning started with the top of the Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka batting order, which fueled coach Marcus Onsum's confidence, but the needed run didn't score.

"Their defense was really solid today," Onsum said of Dakota United. "Any time we play them, it comes down to who makes fewer mistakes. Both teams were pretty sharp in the field. They were a little sharper than us."