GREAT FALLS – The CM Russell softball team’s mission is complete. Back to back state AA titles for the Rustlers. CMR defeated Great Falls high 3-0 in the championship game. The Bison made it into the championship game by beating Helena High 11-1 earlier in the day for the third place game. CMR rode behind pitcher Tristin Achenbach, who finished with 12 strikeouts and only gave up one hit the entire game against GFH.
CMR got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third, when Madi Moore blasted an Erin Hocker pitch to right field, Abby Allison would wheel around from first and score to make it 1-0. Later in the inning, Savanna Voyles laid down a sacrifice bunt for another run to score for CMR to make it 2-0. The final run came in the bottom of the sixth when Kayci Edwards blasted a ground rule double to right field, bringing in Voyles to make it a 3-0 final.
Achenbach and Voyles will go on to play softball next year at the University of Montana. Coach Lindsey Gustafson got emotional when talking about each.
“Obviously Tristin, she’s an unbelievable kid. Montana probably won’t see another one for quite some time because she’s one of a kind,” said Gustafson. “It’s been an amazing run for the year that we had her. I’m so proud of the way that she competes on the mound. I wish her and Savannah the best at the U of M.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s an amazing person,” said Achenbach. “She’s made me a better person and she’s made me a better player, so I owe her everything honestly.”
Voyles, a senior, recounted being on two straight championship teams and making the final out of the game over to first base.
“It’s an honor, I’ve been playing softball with these guys for 4 years now,” said Voyles. “To be able to make the last play is unbelievable. I’m honored. I’m so excited. Our team did great, we wouldn’t be here without everyone else on the team.”
The Rustlers finished with an undefeated eastern conference record and a 25-1 overall record.