Some sports are available to students no matter which Montana high school they attend. Others, like softball, can generally be found only at the larger classifications, Class B and up.
That leaves a void for many at smaller schools. Darby is filling one of those holes this spring for its diamond cravers, co-oping with Hamilton for spring girls’ softball.
“We have a pretty unique deal this year,” Hamilton softball coach Jason Goligoski said. “This is the first time this has ever happened here.”
Hamilton, a favorite to win the Southwestern A crown if not beyond, added three Darby players to its already veteran roster in the offseason. The girls from the Class C school may have Little League softball experience, but this is each’s first season playing high school ball.
Junior sisters Lauren and Lacey Dolcater and senior Sydney Bergren will make the 22-mile trek north from Darby to Hamilton for practices and play a full varsity schedule with the Broncs. And Goligoski isn’t worried about any inexperience in these green swingers.
“They’re all good athletes and they’ll catch on pretty quick,” he said of the trio that also highlighted Darby’s girls’ basketball and volleyball teams this school year. “They’re three of their better athletes.”
Darby, whose girls co-op with Hamilton as well for soccer in the fall and whose boys wrestle with slightly further away Corvallis each winter, nearly got the in for softball last year when Goligoski moved up from assistant to head coach.
He tried to set the wheels in motion, but the application was not processed in time for the season.
“I went through all the hoops and finally got it figured out,” the coach said. “It was a pretty long process and it was frustrating last year because these girls are losing a year.”
An unfortunate circumstances, especially for Bergren, the senior, but now the door is open for Darby softball players of the future.