The Western B/C and Southwest A softball divisional tournaments were not without a few surprises. Florence was at the Western B/C in Ronan while Hamilton, Corvallis and Stevensville played in Anaconda.
Florence went into the tournament as the No. 1 seed and had a first round bye. However, in their opening game, they ran into a red-hot Mission team. Mission scored six run in the top of the fourth inning to blow open the game. Florence had to battle back and pulled within one run but fell, 8-7. Megan Byrne and Sarah Schurg pitched for Florence. Nikki Schurg had a double. While Holly Hale and Stephanie Drozdz each had an RBI.
The loss put Florence into a must win situation on Saturday morning against Deer Lodge. Sarah Schurg went the distance pitching in the 10-4 win. Byrne had a double and Hale had a triple. She finished with two RBIs, as did Haley Huot. Micayla Cole, Kristina Drozdz and Sarah Schurg all had RBIs for Florence.
The win then put Florence up against Plains with the winner of this game advancing to the state tournament in Great Falls this week. Byrne was not going to let her team go home. She slammed two grand slam home runs to power Florence to a 14-6 win. She also added a double and finished with eight RBIs. Huot knocked a double and Kristina Drozdz had an RBI.
Florence, who has the best record in the tournament field at 23-2, will open their state tournament play against Stillwater (13-6) at 1:30 in Great Falls. Stillwater is the No. 2 seed from the east.
Hamilton also had to battle their way back through the loser’s bracket but because of the tournament format, the Lady Broncs were able to capture the championship for the Southwest A.
Hamilton lost to Butte Central, 1-0, in eight innings on Saturday. The defensive battle went seven innings before Shelby Pfaffhausen hit a double to score a run for the Maroons.
Hamilton then played Anaconda in consolation play. Although Hamilton got on base early and scored one run in the second inning, the Copperheads came back to score four runs, twice in the sixth and twice more in the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings. It was the 10th inning when Shaylan Mohn hit a single to score Lauren Dolcater and win the game, 5-4. Kloie Nye finished with three RBIs. Lacy and Lauren Dolcater each had a double.
Then it was on to the championship game against Butte Central, again. Because the tournament is a true double elimination, Hamilton had to win twice for the championship, although they had already punched their ticket to the state tournament. Hamilton quickly set the tempo and scored five runs in the first inning. They went on to win, 10-2 with Brie Clifford pitching a complete game. Tayler Reynolds, Mckayl Rothie, and Lauren Dolcater all had two RBIs.
That win set up the final game of the day, again against Butte Central. Hamilton again jumped out early and held on to win, 7-5. Clifford took the win. Sidney Bergren had a double and two RBIs.
Hamilton will advance to the state tournament in Polson. They will play the winner of the Polson/Laurel game at 5pm on Thursday.