HELENA — Monday was a windy but good day for softball, and Carroll College, currently sitting in sixth place in the Cascade Conference standings, resumed NAIA play with a doubleheader split with the University of Providence.
The Saints thumped Providence 9-1 in five innings in the opener but the Argos bounced back to win Game 2 4-3. In the second game, Carroll sophomore Amber Countryman hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to bring the Saints within one run but it wasn’t enough to force extra innings.
“How do we prepare? We just show up, and we’re our best version of ourselves and we just do what we know how to do. Super proud of them,” first-year Carroll coach Shawna Juarez said between games.
When asked about the competition against the Argos, Juarez stated, “Their coaches are really great people, so we’re all friends and stuff. The rivalry, I don’t know, I just think we’re out here playing the game we love and we are super stoked that we’re outside. Rivalry? I don’t know, we’re just playing softball.”
Current NAIA rankings have three of the Cascade Conference schools in the top 10. Top-ranked Oregon Tech is currently on a 22-game win streak; Southern Oregon is ranked fifth and College of Idaho is No. 8.
“Our top (three) are nationally ranked and they're ranked high. So anytime you can get wins in this conference is huge,” Juarez said. “Iron sharpens iron. It’s their mindset, they are peaking at the right time, and they have earned the right to be there.”
Carroll will now turn its focus towards another home series with Southern Oregon this weekend, with games starting on Friday.