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July 24, 2014
Northwest Montana A Conference


2014 State ASA Junior Olympic Softball Tournament Recap with focus upon softball players from the Mission Valley area

by John Heglie


10U Division

10U Ronan Rimrocks might have been inclined to feel a bit blue after being rolled by the 10U Great Falls Selects Green team in their opening round contest on Friday, but they bounced back with bats ablazing on Saturday, eliminating a trio of teams with a 15-3 tethering of the Lady Osprey, battered the Big Sky Blitz 12-2, then contained the Frenchtown Fury 8-1 before they would lose out on their Sunday morning contest to the Great Falls Select Gold 7-4.  

The 10U Polson Lil Lakers continued their winning whacks at the state tournament 17-2 over the Big Sky Blitz and 7-5 over the Great Falls Selects Mitchell.  Their advance through the bracket put them on a collision course Saturday morning with the talented Missoula-based MT Avalanche Spry, the same team against whom they were forced to mount a rally to capture the Polson Splash Classic 10U championship title back in early June.  Both teams deadlocked at 9-9 in regulation time of their state tourney showdown, which implemented the international tie breaker format in which a runner is placed on second base and a team has three outs to score as many runs as possible.  Unfortunately, the MTAvs would be more successful at plating runs than Polson in extras, a 12-9 loss relegating the Lil Lakers to run the equivalent of a softball marathon with back-to-back-to-back games through the consolation rounds on Sunday.  Polson would need to win three straight to secure bronze hardware and then beat the undefeated team twice to secure the gold medal, all in two hour increments with unseasonably warm 90 degree heat!  The Lil Lakers started their march over the Great Falls Selects Gold 18-1, then topped the Kalispell Emeralds 8-1, followed by an 11-5 consolation contest against the Bozeman Stealers.    That third victory put them into the championship tilt against the MT Avalanche Spry, whom they were able to beat the first time 13-5 to force a second championship contest.  Unfortunately, the Lil Lakers were unable to find enough gas left in the tank to counter such monumental odds stacked against them, falling 13-1 to take home the silver medal of a second place finish.

10U ASA 1st championship game (Su. 13 Jul 14)   Lil Lakers 13, MT Avalanche 5

Sadie Smith, Elly Thorpe (4)  and Arly Spry, Kodi Fraser (4).   Ellie Thiel and Kallie Finkbeiner.  WP - Thiel.  LP - Smith.

LIL LAKERS - Finkbeiner 2-3 (W, SB), Katelyne Druyvestein 2-3 (W, 2RBI, 3SB), Josie Caye 4-4 (3RBI, 3SB), Thiel 2-3 (2x2B, W, 3RBI), Alexys Orien 0-1 (2W, SB), Gianna Fyant 1-3 (2B, 2RBI), Taylor Holm 1-3 (RBI), Ashlynn DePoe 1-2 (RBI), Lucy Violette 0-1, Liz Scabbyrobe 0-1 (2W), Mattison Holmes (flex).


10U ASA 2nd championship game  MT Avalanche 13, Lil Lakers 1

Thiel, Druyvestein (3) and Finkbeiner.  Thorpe, Kenzie Moore (3) and Fraser.  WP - Thorpe.  LP - Thiel.

LIL LAKERS - Finkbeiner 0-2, Druyvestein 0-2,  Caye 0-1 (W), Thiel 2-2 (RBI), Orien 0-2, Fyant 0-1 (W), Holm 0-1, DePoe 0-1, Scabbyrobe 0-1.


While the Mission Valley area 10U softball teams may not have finished as high in the standings as they would have liked, both the Ronan Rimrocks as well as the 31-4 Polson Lil Lakers will be participating in the Regional tournament out in Spokane this coming weekend.


12U Division

12U Polson Purple Wave went 0-2 at the state ASA softball tournament, losing their opening round game 9-0, then dropping their following consolation round game 10-4 to the Bitterroot Sparks Black.

Mission Valley softball players Emilie Corley of Polson as well as Tomi Brazill and Shaynne Reum wrapped up their state ASA tournament march with the Missoula-based 12U MT Avalanche Butler team that finished among the top half dozen teams in their age bracket.  The MTAvs Butler swept their first pair of games on Friday, over the Big Sky Blitz and Kalispell Emeralds White.  But their tangle with the Teal of the eventual 12U champion Bitterroot Sparks on Saturday came up on the short end of a 4-3 score, relegating them to the consolation rounds.  They squeezed by another close game 10-9 against the Billings Shockers on Saturday afternoon, then negotiated their way past the Great Falls Electric City Heat White on Sunday morning before succumbing to 12U state ASA runnerup Belgrade Wolfpack White.


14U Division

The 14U Polson Lakers were bounced from the state ASA tournament earlier than anticipated, falling to the Helena Silverstorm 9-5 in the first round, then to the Billings Force 8-4 to end their summer softball postseason 0-2.  The Lakers were in the thick of things in both contests, actually holding the lead on the Silverstorm until the final two innings, then had the bases loaded twice against the Force, but were unable to bring anybody home in a timely manner.

The 14U Ronan Maidens likewise went 0-2, derailed 10-8 by The Xpress out of Laurel and then buried 12-0 by the MTAvalanche Miltko to close out their summer softball season. 

14U Mission/Arlee/Charlo were clipped by the Helena-based MT Eclipse in their first round contest, and the outcome of their subsequent game(s) have been unable to be ascertained.


16U Division

The 16U Polson Purple Rain finished the state tournament 1-2, dropping their opening round encounter 10-2 to the Frenchtown Fury, a team laden with players that will comprise their arch rivals in the NWA division next spring.  The Purple Rain recovered to  dispatch the Big Sky Blitz 7-4 in their first consolation contest, but came up short against the 16U Lady Osprey out of Missoula to end their tournament.  Lady O shortstop Jordyn Eichert, who plays for the Class B-C Mission-Arlee-Charlo (MAC) Bulldogs during spring softball season, was on base each time after her quintet of plate appearances against the Purple Rain, hitting 3-4 with a pair of doubles, a walk, a fielder’s choice and a stolen base thrown in for good measure.   Half a dozen Purple Rain players turned in multiple hit outings in that final contest with the trio of Lydia Dupuis, Sarah Rausch as well as Skyla Krantz hitting safely in each of their three games.  Krantz benefited from a hop-over-the-fence home run in the Lady O’s contest, while the bats of the killer B’s of Taylor Brackey, Ashley Benson and Laurel Bitterman were abuzz with extra base hit doubles over the course of the last pair of games.

RBIs (3gms) - Dupuis 2, Brackey 2, Kaelyn Smith 2, Benson 2, Rausch 2, Bitterman 2, Krantz 3. 

The 16U Montana Avalanche Earl squad secured 3rd place hardware at the state ASA softball tournament in their age division.  The team features Ronan players Carston Rhine and Kaitylyn Sassaman among their roster.


18U Division 

The best performance of the tournament by an ASA team with Mission Valley area players on their roster was turned in by the 18U ASA 2014 state champion Montana Avalanche White, who squeezed by the Great Falls based Electric City Heat 1-0 in the second extra period of the international tie breaker initiated after regulation play ended in a scoreless tie.   The 18U MTAvs had beaten this same squad 5-0 earlier in the undefeated semifinal to secure a place in the championship bout.   The MTAvs captured the title when future Lady Griz Dani  Walker delivered the equivalent of a walk-off base hit that plated Sami Kinzie of Plains from on second to end the game.    Ronan’s McKenzie Dulmes turned in some crucial defensive plays over the course of the tournament, Polson’s Hannah Potter stroked an RBI single in the semifinal victory and Polson grad Tina Marquardt was involved in a key putout when Heat outfielder Erin Emanuel sought to stretch a solid double and then some into a triple, but got tagged out by Marquardt to snuff the potential go ahead run at that juncture of the championship.  Marquardt has accrued a half dozen pieces of championship hardware thus far in her softball career that include a pair of summer ASA state championships (10U 2006, 18U 2014), a trio of spring MHSA State A championships (Polson Lady Pirate 3peat 2010-12) to which can be added a NJCAA Div 2 Region 13 championship from her first year on the roster of the Williston State Tetons.

The 18U ASA 2014 state champion MTAvs White are participating in the Triple Crown Sports (TCS) 18U Western World Series in San Diego the 15th through 19th of July.  Their tournament begins with a quartet of games as part of the H Pool against the QC Lady Cats, Corona Xpress 18 Gold, SD Legacy blue and Utah Outbreak.   Their progress can be tracked on the MT-Avalanche-Fastpitch Organization website, the mtavalanche18Uwhite Facebook page link or the  < TripleCrownSports.com  > website.


NOTE TO READERS: A printed rendition of this article entitled “State ASA Results” was featured with the 17th July 2014 issue of the Lake County LEADER B2.

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