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'Nothing but heart': Columbia Falls rallied back to win second straight softball championship

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Posted at 5:13 PM, May 28, 2024

BILLINGS — After overcoming crazy weather delays, losing in the undefeated semifinal and then winning not one but two championship games, the Columbia Falls Wildkats prevailed to repeat as the Class A softball state champions.
 
"It just shows us how much we wanted this and how much we had to fight for this," said senior Haden Peters. "Every other team wanted it but we're here with it."

The Wildkats fell to then-undefeated Billings Central 7-3 in the undefeated semifinal on Saturday, putting themselves a game down in the double-elimination tournament before digging themselves out. What did it take?
 
"There's so much, but just heart, straight heart, that takes so much," said senior catcher Demye Rensel. "Not only beating a team as good as Billings Central once, but beating them twice, it takes nothing but heart."

Despite the hole they found themselves in after falling to the Rams, the Wildkats never had a doubt they’d come out on top.

"The whole time. Since I woke up this morning, I knew we had it in the bag," said senior pitcher Maddie Moultray. "I knew it, I never even doubted it once."
 
Moultray not only threw a combined 200 pitches between the two championship games, but she delivered a huge three-run homer in the second game to give Columbia Falls an 8-3 lead in the sixth inning.

"That felt amazing," said Moultray. "I would do anything for all these girls, and that just helped me show that I really care for them more than anyone."
 
With a team of only three seniors — Moultray, Rensel and Peters — the Wildcats had a younger squad, and those three took it upon themselves to lead by example on the big stage.

"It's pretty big honestly, and that's something we've been talking about a lot this season, like there's only three of us," said Peters. "And we have a lot of younger girls that came through and they did amazing this game.

"But this whole season felt like we knew that they were going to be more nervous out here because they hadn't been out here. So we had to act like we've been here. I mean, we've been here so we knew it."
 
As for what a second state championship in as many years means to the team and the greater Columbia Falls community?

"We're a big sports school, we love our sports. We support each other in our sports so much, and it's one of the best feelings ever to be able to take something like this back home for us," said Rensel with a smile.

"That's something that our whole community really looks forward to, even in the littler ages, like elementary schoolers and middle schoolers. They'll come up to us just so excited for us just as much as we're excited for our own teammates, it's extremely cool."