Champions find a way to win. That is certainly the case for the Lady Falcons of Florence. They lost to Ronan last weekend in the divisional tournament. This week, at the state Class B tournament in Great Falls, the defending Class B champions had to get past the Ronan team not once but twice to win the championship. And they did.
Florence met up with Ronan on Friday in the undefeated game after defeating Huntley Project and Glasgow. With the seasoned team of Courtney Byrne pitching and Paige Bodner catching, the Lady Falcons held the Maidens scoreless for three innings while building up an eight point lead. Florence went on to win, 10-6. Megan Byrne had a home run and a double. She was 3-for-5 at bat with three RBIs. Hayley Cole went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
While the win put Florence in the championship game, Ronan had to come back through the consolation bracket to make it to the championship game in the double elimination tournament. Their win over Columbus pitted Ronan back against Florence.
Both teams scored twice in the first inning and then went scoreless for two more innings before Florence scored. The Lady Falcons scored one run in the fourth and another run in the fifth and then crossed the plate two more times in the sixth inning to win, 6-2, and take the championship.
Courtney Byrne took the mound first but relinquished pitching to her younger sister, Megan, in the fourth inning. Megan was credited with the win. She was 2-for-4 at bat and had an RBI. Bodner finished her high school career with a triple and Hayley Cole went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Florence defeated Huntley Project, 8-4, in their opening game of the tournament. Megan Byrne opened as pitcher but Courtney Byrne took over in the fourth and got the win. Megan Byrne went 2-for-3 with a home run and an RBI. Hailey Huot also had a homer for Florence with an RBI. Courtney Byrne had a double and had two RBIs.
Florence defeated Glasgow, 12-2, in five innings. Courtney Byrne was perfect at bat, going 3-for-3. Cazz Skeers hit a double and knocked in two runners. Micayla Cole had four RBIs. Coach Joe McKay played many of his younger players in this game, giving them experience at the state level.
Hamilton’s Lady Broncs finished with a fourth place finish on Saturday at the state Class A tournament. The young team, there isn’t a senior on the team, lost out to perennial powerhouse Polson, 13-3. They finished their season with a 15-10 record.
Hamilton opened up their tournament run against Laurel and put up five runs in the second inning to give themselves and edge. They went on to win, 12-2. They finished with 18 hits and no errors in the game. Taylor Goligoski went 3-for-4 and had a home run and four RBIs. Kiley Newton, Tayler Reynolds, McKayl Rothie and Grace Zohner all had doubles. Rothie, Zohner and Shay Mohn each knocked in two runners, and Sabrina Friday and Newton each had an RBI. Brie Clifford was the pitcher and earned the win.
Hamilton then took on Columbia Falls. The WildKats came out on fire and drove in eight runs in the first inning. Clifford had her hands full and pitched six innings before Kaytlyn Menk came in to relieve her. Columbia Falls went on to win, 24-10. Goligoski went 2-for-4 and had a home run. Reynolds and Menk each had a double in the loss.
The Lady Broncs then took on a familiar foe, the Butte Central Maroons. The Maroons drove in four runs in the first inning. But Hamilton maintained their focus and brought in three runs in the first. That was the last time the game was close as the Lady Broncs went on to win, 17-7. Reynolds had a home run and went 2-for-4. Goligoski had a triple and went 2-for-3. Clifford took the win.
Hamilton then advanced to play Polson. The winner of the game would advance and the loser would finish fourth. Polson, the returning champion, had given the young team fits earlier in the season. This time, the Lady Broncs played with the Pirates for three innings before the more experienced team pulled ahead for the 13-3 win. Rothie, Goligoski and Friday each had a double in their final game of the season.