Kats win Western A Softball title
The Columbia Falls softball team poses with the Western A trophy after winning the title over Polson Saturday night. Front row, from left, Brooke Evans, Sydney Mann, Sophie Robbins, Demye Rensel, Ryan Ward, Tayler Lingle; top row, Rick Lawrence, Drew Henderson, Syd Burke, Addy Bowler, Bella Mann, Annika Reid, Kyrah Trenkle, Maddy Collins, Haden Peters, Aspen Dawson, Maddie Moultray, coach Dave Kehr and Jesse Mann. (Photo courtesy of Jesse Mann)
| May 24, 2023 2:00 AM
The Columbia Falls softball team continued its tear through the season, winning the Western A Divisional title Saturday in Frenchtown, beating conference foe Polson in the championship, 11-7.
The game was knotted up at 3 apiece after three innings, but the Kats put up four runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth to go up 11-3.
Polson would rally a bit in the top of the seventh with three runs, but it wasn’t enough.
Kyrah Trenkle had a solo homer in the second. Aspen Dawson led the squad with 4 RBIs and a double. Tayler Lingle had a triple and double and Sydney Mann had a double in the win.
A Polson error in the bottom of the fourth helped spark the Wildkats’ rally. Maddie Moultray also hit a line drive single to left field to drive in two runs with no outs.
In the bottom of the fifth, Trenkle hit a hard grounder to center to drive in two baserunners and a couple of plays later, Aspen Dawson cleared the bases with a double to center, driving in three runs.
Maddie Moultray got the win on the mound for the Kats, striking out four.
The Kats opened the tourney by beating Butte, 17-2.
Libby then the gave the Kats a run for their money earlier Saturday, but Columbia Falls prevailed, 8-7.
The Kats trailed 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth when Haden Peters doubled on a 2-1 count to drive in two runs for the Kats.
Syd Mann came in for relief for Moultray and got the Loggers out on two grounders and a pop fly to end the game.
The girls also won the regular season conference crown as they beat Polson 13-3 on the road last Tuesday.
The Kats won the conference by virtue of a run differential, as Polson had beaten the Kats earlier this season for their lone conference loss.
They’ll now do it all over again this week at the state tourney in Belgrade.
The Wildkats will get a bye and then face the winner of the Hamilton-Hardin game Thursday at 5 p.m.
Get past that and they Kats could very well face Billings Central in the semifinals.
Central is the No. 2 seed from the east and was undefeated most of the season.
The Kats have been hitting the heck out of the ball this season. Haden Peters is batting.551, Moultray .541, Trenkle .484, Mann .435 and Dawson .435.
Moultray has been solid on the mound with an ERA of 3.122.
The girls are now 21-3 heading into the state tourney.
Coach Dave Kehr said the Wildkats won’t change much.
“We just have to keep hitting the ball well,” he said. “Top to bottom. Hit throughout the lineup.”
He noted the team plays with an edge if they can get Moultray a lead.
Kehr said this year’s state tourney field is wide open and anyone can win it.
“The most equal we’ve had in a long time,” he said.
The girls were set to leave for Belgrade today (Wednesday) where they’ll practice on the fields before their first game Thursday.
Winning the Western A divisional was a first for the Kats, or for any team from the West for that matter, as it was the first time the Western A has had a tournament. The East has had divisional tourneys in the past, but not the West.