GREAT FALLS – Immediately following Great Falls High’s 11-2 win over crosstown rival CMR on Thursday, Bison softball coach Mike Coleman called his team into a huddle and measured his words.
Though his team had just won by nine runs to improve to 13-0 on the season, he knows his team still has a lot of room to improve, especially at the plate where the Bison had only five total hits.
“That was the key to me, was we got hits when we should,” Coleman said. “And in the past we haven’t and it cost us some ballgames in past years, but we do need to start hitting the ball more consistently.”
Sophomore Anna Toon was one of the bright spots for the Bison. The lefty recorded two doubles and five RBI to help Great Falls High earn the regular-season sweep of the Rustlers (5-10).
“We didn’t necessarily crush the ball (Thursday), but I think we had some quality base hits,” Toon said. “I think it’s our timely hitting, our base running and our defense that really keeps us in games.”
Coleman has put faith in young players all season long, and it was rewarded with Toon coming up big in spots.
“I think we only had five hits and she had two of them and they were big hits with bases loaded and two girls on,” he said. “And without those it would have been a lot closer ballgame.”
Erin Hocker had another great game on the bump, pitching a complete game with 10 strikeouts while allowing seven hits. Teagan Taylor earned the loss for the Rustlers, allowing six runs before being replaced by Madi Moore in the middle of the second.
Great Falls High jumped out to a 8-0 lead on the strength of Toon’s bat before Moore put the Rustlers on the board with a solo home run in the fourth inning.
The Bison are the only undefeated team remaining in Class AA, but they consider themselves a work in progress.
“We come out every day, we work hard. But even though we’re undefeated there’s still a lot of room to improve,” Toon said. “I feel like everyone has gotten better as the season has gone on. We started off the season pretty hot, but it’s slowed down a little bit. It might just be our mentality, it might be in our head. If we got up there with the right approach, we have great hitters and I think we’ll do fine hitting the ball.”
“They’re still confident,” Coleman added. “But we’re getting to the point where the confidence might be too far. And I want to get the abilities back up, we want to get the hitting going again. I’m a lot more confident when we’re getting 12 ot 13 hits a game than when we’re getting five.”
Both teams will play a triple-header Saturday at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Multi-Sports Complex against Billings West and Skyview.