Last year, the Hamilton Bronc softball team was somewhat of an unknown entity with young players on the roster and they still finished fourth at the state tournament. This year, they are still young, but the other teams know the Lady Broncs are a tough, seasoned team with the target squarely on their backs. Coach Jason Goligoski thinks that will just make his team tougher.
Another addition this year will also help. Darby is now co-oping with Hamilton. For years, Victor had an agreement with Hamilton but there are no players from Victor this year so Darby is now playing on the Hamilton softball team. Three players, Sydney Bergren, Lauren Dolcater and Lacy Dolcater have donned the Hamilton uniform and will be making a difference for Hamilton. In fact, Goligoski said the trio might be the only surprise on the Hamilton team.
“My hat’s off to them. They are great athletes and have a great work ethic. They’ve been a lot of fun.”
Hamilton opened their season against Stevensville on Thursday. Prior to this year, every game counted with the top three teams with the best record heading to state. This year there will be a divisional tournament that will determine the top three teams who will then advance to the state tournament in Polson. The Southwest A divisional will be in Anaconda.
Hamilton topped Stevensville, 12-2. Brie Clifford was the pitcher for Hamilton and Carly Vercruyssen pitched for Stevensville. Goligoski said having a pitcher the caliber of Clifford is good for Hamilton but he didn’t discount Vercruyssen’s effort.
“She pitched a great game, but we just swung very well,” said Goligoski.
Stevensville coach Joey Wark said his team is very young but they have had a lot of softball experience. “It’s just in the high school and varsity, it’s a lot different than what they’re used to. We had that in Dillon too, it took about three or four innings for the girls to realize this is still just softball, same as we’ve always played.”
Hamilton swung out to an early lead and went on to win, 12-2. McKayl Rothie went 3-for-3 including a triple and an RBI. Tayler Reynolds and Lauren Dolcater also had triples for Hamilton. Pitcher Clifford had two doubles and Hamilton catcher Katie Wickham, who was 2-for-3, also had two doubles.
Stevensville’s Vercruyssen went 2-for-3, as did catcher Megan Finley. Finley also had a double.
Hamilton took on Polson on Saturday. Although Hamilton got on the board first with a couple of runs, Polson went on to win, 8-3. Clifford took the loss for the Lady Broncs. Clifford went 2-for-4 at bat.
Florence picked up a couple of wins on Saturday in a doubleheader with Plains. The defending Class B state champions defeated Plains, 17-1, in the first game. Megan Byrne was the pitcher for four innings until Sarah Schurg came in to relieve her. Stephanie Drozdz was the catcher. Chloe Arthur went 3-for-3 with a home run and a double. Micayla Cole also hit a homer and had three RBIs. Holly Hale was 3-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Nikki Schurg had the last home run for the Lady Falcons.
In the second game, Florence topped Plains, 14-10. Byrne again started as pitcher and was relieved by Schurg in the fifth inning. Hale went 4-for-5 and had a double and an RBI. Cole went 1-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Nikki Schurg hit another home run with two RBIs and a double.
Corvallis lost a close game to Dillon and also lost to Polson.