POLSON – Sophomore Kloie Nye’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave Hamilton a 12-11 win over Polson in a quarterfinal matchup Thursday at the Class A state softball tournament.
The Broncs (21-5) will battle Libby (18-5) in a championship bracket semifinal Friday at 1 p.m. at the Polson Softball Complex. In the other 1 p.m. semifinal, Frenchtown (20-1) will face Billings Central (14-7) after the Broncs made quick work of Havre (10-11) on Thursday afternoon, 9-0.
Polson made it out of the first round with an 8-5 win over Laurel while Libby took a 2-0 decision from Butte Central in its tournament opener.
In other first-round games, Livingston edged Anaconda, 5-4, and Havre topped Miles City, 7-5. Billings Central earned its semifinal date with Frenchtown behind a 1-0 decision over Livingston in a quarterfinal.
Hamilton 12, Polson 11 (8 innings)
The game was full of twists and turns and both teams showed their ability to rally from behind. Polson led 5-2 early and 8-6 after five frames.
Taylor Gologoski hit a three-run home run to give Hamilton a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Tayler Reynolds followed with another tater to give the Broncs a 10-8 advantage.
Down to their last three outs, Polson scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take an 11-10 lead without hitting the ball out of the infield. The Broncs had costly back-to-back errors.
Hamilton forced extra innings on pitcher Brie Clifford’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh. That set the stage for Nye’s heroics in the eighth.
For 2 2/3, Brie Clifford and Jessica Bagnell engaged in a tight pitchers' duel. In the end, Brie and Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity hung on for the victory. The Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity mustered 16 hits and, thanks to Clifford's stellar pitching, defeated Polson High School 12-11 in eight innings at State Tournament on Thursday.
Brie worked out of 14 difficult moments for Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity. She pitched eight innings and allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits. Brie faced her toughest moment in the seventh inning.
Jessica worked out of three tricky spots for Polson High School. She pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed eight earned runs on 16 hits. Jessica faced her most difficult moment in the seventh inning.
The two teams combined for 23 runs and 28 hits, including 15 extra base hits.
The game was back-and-forth heading into the eighth, with 10 lead changes.
Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity pulled out the win thanks to a strong eighth inning. Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity went up for good on an RBI double by Kloie Nye off Jessica, plating Sydney Bergren.
The top of the first saw Polson High School take an early lead, 1-0. Jaylin Kenney doubled to ignite Polson High School's offense. A passed ball then moved Jaylin from second to third.
It didn't take long for Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity to answer as it scored two runs of its own in the first. Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity scored on an RBI double by Taylor and an RBI double by Tayler.
Polson High School brought home one run in the third inning, and matched that run total in the fifth. In the third, Polson High School scored on a solo home run by Hannah Potter.
It didn't take long for Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity to respond as it scored two runs of its own in the third. Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity scored on a walk by Shaylan Mohn and an RBI single by Lauren Dolcater.
Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity answered Polson High School's top inning with two runs of its own in the fourth. Hamilton Lady Broncs Varsity scored on an RBI double by McKayl and an RBI single by Taylor.
Thursday was a day Morgan Ray will set aside for the scrapbook as Morgan threw a no-hitter in Broncs' 9-0 victory over Havre.
No Havre batter was able to locate Morgan's pitches during the game. Morgan threw a no-hitter, striking out 14 batters and walking one while recording her momentous feat. She got D Wagner to strike out for the final out of the game.
Broncs blew out Havre thanks to 12 hits, including two extra base hits. Broncs scored three runs in the sixth on Broncs scored in the sixth on a passed ball, an RBI single by Morgan, and an error.
Morgan racked up four RBIs on two hits for Broncs.
D ended up on the wrong side of the pitching decision, charged with the loss. She allowed eight runs in three innings, walked none and struck out none.
The lead stayed with Broncs after the third, when it scored one run on a sacrifice fly by Emerald Pyron.
Broncs added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. A ground out scored Josie Anderson for the inning's first run.
Broncs brought home three runs in the fifth inning, and matched that run total in the sixth. In the fifth, Broncs scored on an error, scoring Emerald.
At Polson in a game between teams that share the same purple & gold school color scheme, the Lady Pirates drew first blood when Taylor Brackey opened the bottom of the 2nd with a double, scoring when freshman Ashley Benson hit into a routine infield play for an RBI. Not to be intimidated, the Lady Locomotives responded in kind when pitcher Brianne Jones reached on a throwing error and would eventually score on a single by Kylie Goodson to even the tally at 1-1. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Lady Pirates opened with a single by the top of their order, but her threat of reaching scoring position was negated by a fielder’s choice. After an ensuing walk, the Locos turned a double play to send Polson back to the dugout empty. Motivated by their defensive gem, the Locos placed two runners on board with one out. Jones capitalized on the RBI opportunity by stroking a 2 run scoring double. A single by Kylie Hergenrider put runners at the corners, with Kylie moving to second on a fielders choice to put two runners in scoring position. Back to back errors by Polson would allow Laurel to extend the lead to 5-1. Polson responded in their half of the inning by closing the gap to 5-4. After an uneventful Laurel 5th, Polson retook the lead by plating a trio of runs to go up 7-5. An insurance run was added in the bottom of the 6th to extend the margin to 8-5. Laurel would threaten with a pair of runners in the top of the 7th, but the Lady Pirates wiggled off the hook by securing the win to advance against Hamilton.
Laurel 0 0 1 4 0 0 0 - 5
Polson 0 1 0 3 3 1 x - 8
Jessica Bagnell and Jaylin Kenney. Brianne Jones and Hailey Spitzer. W - Bagnell (3K, 7H, 1W, 1HP). L - Jones (1K, 11H, 2W).
Unofficial game rendition by John Heglie. Some details may vary from official summary.
stat spec scoring anomaly supplement
Top4th - infielder attempted to tag out runner after Goodson hit attempt, but missed when she evaded the tag, allowing her to reach base safely. This evaluator scored the play as an error, whereas another more partial stat assessment scored the play as a hit. All the fielder had to do was throw to first base. Instead, they deviated from the routine expectation and the runner reached first base safely. Can’t count such a play as a bonifide hit.
Btm5th - Polson’s Brackey hit ball just toward gap outside reach of third base infielder, who got a glove on the ball, but it glanced off the fielding attempt. O Understandably, one stat source scored the play as an error. However, making the play would have been difficult in this evaluators assessment. Benefit of the doubt goes to the batter, hence play scored as hit.
Laurel’s H.Maurer 0-1 had 3PA. Stat scoring assessments varied. One stat source listed her 0-3 on account of put-outs, but this evaluator and another stat assessment listed two of her at-bats as sacs on account of her successfully moving runners on base over with an executed hit. Technically it may not have been a square up at the plate bunt, but this viewer considered them in the context of a variation of the slap-bunt variety.
Four-run seventh dooms Copperheads at State A
Posted on May 29, 2014
Livingston’s Shyann Mushrush, pinch running for Cassie Vesland, scores the tying run in the bottom of the seventh during Thursday’s 5-4 win over Anaconda in the first round of the State A tournament in Polson. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO
POLSON — A three-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh turned into a Copperhead nightmare Thursday during the first round of the Class A State tournament.
Livingston, a team that thrived on swinging at bad pitches after being ahead of the count for the first six innings, all the sudden resembled a team that earned the No. 2 seed in the Central in their final at bat. Starting with the top of the order, Livingston collected four of their 10 hits in the inning without recording an out, capping their comeback with a walk off RBI double by cleanup hitter Hailey Versland to shock Anaconda 5-4.
The tough loss spoiled a solid outing by freshman left-hander Michaela Courtright, a pitcher who emerged as an important cog in the Copperhead rotation after last week’s Southwestern A divisional.
Lacee Moodry reflects after Livingston’s walk off win. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO
Anaconda reliever Kristy Hayden comes on in the seventh. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO
The game plan for Anaconda was simple — make Livingston’s offense hit pitches off the plate. Courtright, who threw 112 pitches (58 balls, 54 strikes), mixed her speeds and pitches well enough to battle through what’s considered the most important stat with pitchers — first pitch strikes and working ahead in the count. Courtright threw just 36.7 first pitch strikes (19 balls, 11 strikes), but showed poise beyond her years battling back against the odds versus a solid offensive team.
After giving up a slap hit single to lefty leadoff Megan Megan Gibson to lead off the seventh, Courtright walked Jaccy Schleicher on four straight pitches. Instead of putting too much on the shoulders of the young hurler, head coach Dotsie Shafer elected to go to her junior pitcher Kristy Hayden in the closing situation.
Cassie Versland then hit a 3-2 pitch into left center scoring two to cut the Copperhead deficit to 4-3 with no outs. She advanced to second when a throw to the plate left a hole in the Anaconda defense. Still with no outs, Shyann Mushrush, pinch-running for Versland, scored moments later when Meadow Ingram drilled a single back up the middle into center.
Again, not keeping the force by hitting the cut, Ingram advanced to second when the throw came in to the plate. Five-hitter Hailey Versland then dropped a double just outside the reach of a diving Lacee Moodry in left for the walk off, game-winning double.
Livingston pitcher Sierra Higgs scattered 10 hits in the complete-game win, throwing an economical 98 pitches (65 strikes, 33 balls). Hayden was tagged with the loss in relief.
Offensively, Anaconda pounded out 10 hits led by seniors Courtney Moodry and Sara Schaefer each going 3-for-4 at the dish. Lacee Moodry added two hits and Julia Peterson drove in two runs going 1-for-3 with a sacrifice.
The loss moves Anaconda into the Saturday morning loser out against Polson, who lost 11-10 in 10 innings to Southwestern A No. 1 seed Hamilton, at 11 a.m.