Montana Grizzlies hottest team heading to Big Sky Conference softball championships

Posted at 9:20 PM, May 07, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No team enters the Big Sky Conference softball championships on a hotter streak than Montana. The Grizzlies won their past eight games to climb to the No. 3 seed in the bracket.

That run includes three-game sweeps over a couple Big Sky foes the past two weeks. Suddenly a team that was looking for some answers most of the season can now start looking for a title, but the head coach cautions that reaching their new expectations will have to happen one step at a time.

“Right now we’re meshing at the right time,” said Melanie Meuchel. “And I think if we can keep it simplified as we have most of the year, I think some good things are to come. And when I say simplified, I mean take Game 1 and take Inning 1 — not look at the big picture, you have to win X amount of games, or who you could be playing next, anything like that. We need to stay kind of in the moment.”

Everyone knew this would be a transition year after 11 of the original Grizzlies graduated last spring after the fourth year of the program. But now the trials are paying off.

“Over the course of the year we knew that it would be a development process with the team,” said Meuchel. “It would take some time to gain trust in each other, and kind of built the family environment that we pride ourselves on. I think we are very happy with what we’re seeing and the growth that we are seeing, but I think that there is a little bit more in us that we want to finish.”

Montana opens the first round in Sacramento at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday against sixth-seeded Northern Colorado, one of the teams Montana swept recently. The winner of that first-round game then moves on to play No. 2-seed Idaho State at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.