The Dakota United adapted softball program is immensely successful, but if there's a little brother and a big brother, the CI Division has been the younger sibling.

The PI (physically impaired) Division team has won the past four state championships. In 2024, little bro took up the challenge.

Dakota United's CI (cognitively impaired) Division adapted softball team, winner of its first state championship in 2024, is the All-Metro Sports Awards Adapted Sports Team of the Year.

The Hawks defeated Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville with a walk-off single in the seventh inning of the state championship game in mid-May at Chanhassen High School. Victory came after the first chance for a winning run became an out at home instead.

Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville had defeated Dakota United in the state final in 2023, on a game-saving putout at home, and matters felt familiar to coach Scott Oxley.

"As a coach, I'm going, 'Don't do this to me again,' " he said.

A second chance featured junior Henry Eisele scoring the winning run. That made Dakota United 10-1, the lone loss to Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville avenged in the championship game. Students from Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, Eastview, Rosemount, Two Rivers and Hastings populate the Dakota United program.

Oxley spoke of relationships and rewards and how one leads to the other. It's something he learned from a college coach.

"Having those bonds and having confidence you can play with every team makes a big difference," he said.