GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Central is heading back to the State B-C softball tournament for the third time in just four years as a varsity program.
The Mustangs claimed the No. 3 seed out of the East with a successful but uneven weekend at the divisional tournament in Cut Bank. Central opened the tournament with a 21-20 slugfest of a win against Glasgow and followed it up with a 5-3 win over previously undefeated Huntley Project in the quarterfinals.
“We saw possibilities of how good we can be and how poorly we can play, as well,” said Central head coach Eric Vincent. “Coming out against Huntley, Allison Cantley did an outstanding job on the mound. She gave up a lot of hits but she spaced them out, our mistakes were spaced out and our defense really stepped up when they needed to. Our hitters hit, and we just came out with a close win”
Central’s roster is a mix of experienced veterans and players who only picked up the sport in the past year or two.
“So you expect both things to happen,” said Vincent. “We expect to come out and play really well sometimes and we expect novice errors to occur. If we can balance that, it works out for us. I never know which team is going to show up.”
Seniors Allison Cantley, Sara Tarum, Breanna Cook and Kate McEwen and junior Syd Hill set the tone for the Mustangs. They’ve been with the program since the beginning, but have never placed at state in their two previous trips.
“We haven’t really done well at state at all,” said Cantley. “We went our freshman year and last year. This being my last year of softball, I’m not playing collegiately, I would love to do really well at state. And for this program I think that would be a really good thing, as well.”
Central faces Eureka, the No. 2 seed out of the West, on Thursday in Belgrade at 4 p.m.
“The West has been a little tougher than the East at tournament time traditionally,” Vincent said. “This is the third time in four years they’ve been able to go to the state tournament. I think they’re really hungry not only to get there, but to get some wins.”