Three of the valley’s softball teams got in a game or two before Spring Break last week. Hamilton, Stevensville and Corvallis all hit the diamonds in their opening games of the season.
Hamilton started off against a tough Class B school, Ronan. The Maidens play a lot of softball in the off-season and are a competitive team according to Hamilton coach Jason Goligoski. Hamilton scored in the first inning and then added two more runs in the second. They then held off Ronan, who scored two runs in the third inning, for the win.
Hamilton has a new pitcher, a transfer from Big Sky. Brie Clifford is a junior who is bringing a lot of experience to the Bronc team. Last year’s pitcher, Rebecka Hood, graduated and it looked as if that position would be a little weak until Clifford transferred last fall. Taylor Goligoski went two-for-three at bat with two doubles and two RBIs. Clifford also had an RBI in the 3-2 win. Hamilton had three runs off of four hits with four errors.
“They played well, we played well, ended up 3-2,” concluded Goligoski.
Hamilton 3, Ronan 2
Ronan – Samantha Coleman, Alana Madison 5. Hamilton – Brie Clifford and Katie Wickham W – Clifford (1-0). L – Coleman.
Ronan – Ashleigh Lynch 2-4, Samantha Coleman 1-3, Kaitlyn Sassaman 0-3, McKenzie Dulmes 0-2, Kendra Starkel 0-3, Madison Barber 0-3, Danielle Richwine 0-2, Jordyn Clairmont 1-3, Courtney Taylor 1-3, Alana Madison 0-1.
Hamilton – Taylor Goligoski 2-3, McKayl Rothie 0-2, Brie Clifford 0-2, Tayler Reynolds 1-3, Shaylan Mohn 1-3, Sabrina Friday 0-2, Kiley Newton 0-1, Katie Wickham 0-2, Kaytlyn Menk 0-2.
2B – Goligoski 2, Mohn, Coleman. RBIs – Goligoski 2, Clifford, Coleman, Dulmes.
On Friday, the Lady Broncs came to Stevensville for an inter valley match up. Hamilton got on the board in the first inning with a grand slam home run and four more runs batted in. But then Stevensville settled down and played with the Broncs the rest of the way. Hamilton went on to win, 11-1.
“It was a rough first inning,” according to Stevensville coach Joey Wark. “After that first inning, we competed with them the entire game, went pitch for pitch with them. We played good defense and put the ball in play.”
Stevensville has two seniors on the team, Bailey Vercruyssen is at short and Alycia Sims plays third. Wark is expecting these two to provide leadership to the rest of the team and key up the offense. The sophomore tandem of Carly Vercruyssen and Megan Finley are the pitcher and catcher for the Lady Yellowjackets and although young, both are experienced at their positions.
It was the ‘Taylor and Tayler’ show according to Coach Goligoski of the game against Stevensville. Both Taylor Goligoski and Tayler Reynolds hit a home run and Taylor Goligoski also had two triples and four RBIs. Reynolds had three RBIs. Kiley Newton had a double for the Lady Broncs as well.
“We had a big first inning,” said Coach Goligoski. “We had other opportunities. We came out and jumped on them and then we lay down for four innings. In the sixth, we get three more (runs). We’ve got to be consistent.”
Just like their basketball team, the Lady Broncs do not have a senior on the team. This has Coach Goligoski pretty excited. “The coolest thing about it is every thing we learn this year is just going to help us next year. It’s just a good group of girls.”
In addition to newcomer Clifford at the pitching position, Goligoski feels his daughter, Taylor, at shortstop will also help this young team find their way.
“We have a couple of really, really special players on our team that are going to keep us in games, Brie Clifford on the mound and Taylor (Goligoski) at short. It makes a huge difference when you have a couple of the better players in the state at those key positions. It helps the other girls develop and come along,” he concluded.
Hamilton 11, Stevensville 1
Brie Clifford and Katie Wickham. Carly Vercruyssen W – Brie Clifford. L – Carly Vercruyssen.
Hamilton – Taylor Goligoski 4-4, McKayl Rothie 0-1, Brie Clifford 1-3, Tayler Reynolds 2-4, Shay Mohn 0-4, Sabrina Friday 0-3, Kiley Newton 2-3, Katie Wickham 0-2, Kaytlyn Menk 0-2, Emma Brenner 0-0, Trystean Capp 0-1.
Stevensville – Bailey Vercruyssen 0-2, Carly Vercruyssen 1-2, Alicia Sims 0-2, Megan Finley 0-3, Emilie Lewis 0-3, Tammie Beller 0-2, Kayla Knight 0-1, Maddie Boesch 0-1, Jenna Walkman 0-2.
2B – Newton. 3B – Goligoski 2. HR – Goligoski, Reynolds. RBIs – Goligoski 4, Tayler Reynolds 3, Mohn, Friday, Newton, Whickham.
Corvallis opened their season against the Polson Pirates. The Polson program is one of the toughest programs in the state. The Pirates have won two of the last three state titles and are a very experienced team.
On the other hand, Corvallis is also fielding a very young team with a new pitcher at the helm of the team. Coach Richie Borden said Polson was “a tough train to run into right out of the gate.” However he went on to say he did see a lot of little things his team did that were encouraging.
“Some of that stuff we can pound it into their heads during practice but until you get into a game, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.
He, too, lamented the fact that the teams up north play a lot more games in the off season and said he hopes his players will see the value of that.
“If they can only play in a couple of tournaments, that’s still an additional 20-30 innings and that makes a big difference.”
Polson won, 19-2. Miquela Kriskovich went three-for-three at bat and had two RBIs and a double.