Monday, April 15, 2024

Softball has speed, but less power this season

| March 20, 2024 2:00 AM

The Columbia Falls softball team lost a lot of power but they’re a faster team this season. The Wildkats won their first-ever state A title last season behind some big bats, but they have two keys from last season coming back: Senior pitcher Maddie Moultray and senior catcher Demye Rensel.

Pitching and catching are the backbone of any good softball team and Moultray and Rensel are stellar at both positions.

Last season Moultray had a 2.86 earned run average and batted .489 through the state tournament as a junior. She struck out 36 in the state tourney alone.

Rensel is also good with the bat, she hit a couple homers in the state tourney last year.

In the fall Moultray signed to play college ball with St-Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana.

Coach Dave Kehr said the Wildkats should be right in the mix again this year for another state title run.

“We lost half our home runs or more,” he said. “But we’re faster overall. But speed needs to get on base.”

This will likely be a team that manufactures runs, rather than hit dingers out of the park. They lose big bats of Sydney Mann, Haden Peters, Maddy Collins, Kyrah Trenkle and Aspen Dawson to graduation.

“It’s just a different team,” Kehr added. “We’re going to need to hit seven all the way through.”

Almost every team returns solid pitching this season, Kehr noted. Look for Libby and Polson to be tough and Ronan should be good, too.

The Columbia Falls program has youth coming up, he noted. They kept 10 freshmen this year and a couple of them could see varsity playing time.

The Wildkats are set to open the season in Polson on Saturday, though the weather is calling for snow. Their home opener is against Browning April 2 with a 5:30 p.m. start.