The Florence softball team lost four key players to graduation last year including the pitcher, catcher and first basemen. Even as the returning state champions in 2012 and 2013, the road back looked long. However one thing the program at Florence has done is look to the future each year. Last year’s coach, Joe McKay, made sure that Megan Byrne got plenty of opportunities to pitch behind her sister, Courtney. With her experience, this year’s coach, Rob Ralls feels confident that position would take care of itself.
But that still left two other key positions, catcher and first base. Ralls said Stephanie Drozdz has stepped into the catcher’s position and is doing a great job.
“We didn’t know who we were going to have at first base and then Chloe (Arthur) stepped in. She’s playing really well,” said Ralls.
Nikki and Sarah Schurg transferred in this year and they have also been great additions to the Lady Falcons. Nikki Schurg is batting really well and as a senior, is stepping up and being a leader. Sarah Schurg is the designated hitter and hits well also. Ralls said that with the addition of the two, he feels his team is on the right track.
In addition to Florence, Ralls said he expected Loyola and Ronan to be the tough teams in this conference. Last Tuesday, Florence swept the Breakers of Loyola. On Saturday, Florence took care of Ronan, with a 13-7 win in the first game and 17-3 win in the second game.
Byrne pitched the first game and took that win. Stephanie Drozdz was the catcher for both games. In the first game, Micayla Cole had a home run and an RBI. She went 1-for-2 at bat. Holly Hale had a double and two RBIs. Nikki Schurg and Hailey Huott each had two RBIs. Ronan played right with the Lady Falcons in the early part of the first game. But the combination of strong defense by the Lady Falcons and solid hitting put the game out of reach.
Sarah Schurg pitched the second game with Arthur coming in to relieve her in the fourth inning. The game was only five innings due to the 10-run rule. Nikki Schurg was 2-for-4 at bat with a home run, a triple and five RBIs. Byrne also had a homer and five RBIs. Arther was the third Lady Falcon to hit over the fence in the game. She drove in two runners.
Ralls was pleased with his team’s play on Saturday. “I think we’ll be right in there in the driver’s seat going to Divisionals. It’s where we need to be.”
Florence 13, Ronan 7
Alaina Madsen and Kaitlyn Sassaman. Megan Byrne and Stephanie Drozdz. W – Byrne. L – Madsen.
Ronan – Madsen 1-4, Clairmont 1-4, Sassaman 1-4, Dulmes 2-4, Starkel 1-4, Richwine 2-4, Wirz 0-2, Morency 2-4, Bocksnick 0-3, Taylor 1-2.
Florence – Holly Hale 1-4, Byrne 0-2, Nikki Schurg 1-3, Chloe Arthur 0-5, Micayla Cole 1-2, Drozdz 1-2, Sarah Schurg 1-3, Hailey Huot 1-3, Kristyne Drozdz 1-3
2B – Dulmes, Richwine; Hale. HR – Dulmes, Taylor; Cole. RBIs – Madsen, Clairmont, Dulmes, Richwine, Taylor; Hale 2, Byrne, N. Schurg 2, Cole, S. Schurg, Huot 2, Drozdz.
Florence 17, Ronan 3
S. Schurg and S. Drozdz, Arthur (4). Madsen and Kaitlyn Sassaman. W – S. Schurg. L – Madsen.
FLORENCE – Hale 3-5, Byrne 3-4, N. Schurg 2-4, Cole 2-3, Arthur 1-3, S. Drozdz 2-4, S. Schurg 1-3, Huot 0-1, Josie McCann 1-3, Natalie Drozdz 1-1, Teresa Stolle 0-1, Kali Leibenguth 0-1.
RONAN – Madsen 0-3, Clairmont 0-2, Sassaman 0-3, Dulmes 1-2, Starkel 1-2, Richwine 0-2, Taylor 1-2, Kiana Brown 0-2, Morency 1-2.
2B – Hale, Cole; Taylor. 3B – N. Schurg. HR – Byrne, N. Schurg, Arthur. RBIs – Hale, Byrne 5, N. Schurg 5, Cole, Arthur 2, N. Drozdz; Taylor 2.
Hamilton also picked up a couple of wins over the weekend. On Thursday, they topped rival Corvallis, 15-1. Brie Clifford pitched a complete game and held the Blue Devils to only one two hits. Taylor Goligoski hit a home run and had three RBIs. Shaylan Mohn went 2-for-4 at bat with a double and an RBI. Tayler Reynolds also had an RBI for the Lady Broncs.
Taylor Gagnon was the starting pitcher for Corvallis. Sabrina Friday came in to relieve her in the sixth inning. Corinne Sanderson had an RBI for the Blue Devils.
On Saturday, Hamilton took on Butte Central and blanked the Maroons, 5-0. Clifford pitched the shut out with Katie Wickham catching. Clifford was also 1-for-3 at bat with two RBIs. Goligoski and Reynolds each batted 1-for-2 and each had an RBI. Kloie Nye also had an RBI.
Butte Central defeated Corvallis, 12-5, on Saturday. Friday, who relieved Gagnon in the seventh inning, took the loss for the Blue Devils. Kabrey Powell, Bobbie Stephen and Nicole Turner all were 1-for-3 at bat. Brenna Bourgeois, the Corvallis catcher, had an RBI as did Powell and Stephen.