BELGRADE – The softball trophy case at Florence is running out of room. The KPAX Athletes of the Week claimed yet another state championship on Saturday.
The Falcons dominated the Class B-C bracket in Belgrade. They won four games by a combined 35 runs and finished with 10-0 victories over Missoula Loyola in the semifinals and Huntley Project in the championship.
The Falcons’ powerful offense put up big totals all year. Equally impressive was the shutdown performance of star pitcher Brianna Hoffman, who injured her back in the middle of the tournament but still struck out 13 Red Devils in a two-hit shutout in the championship.
“This year it definitely gives me that little comfort that I know that this team was really the state champion team,” said Hoffman. “We worked our butts off all season, even last year and this year coming to that goal to win it again. This is the feeling that we wanted.”
“I’ve seen the high scores in the East,” said longtime head coach Rob Ralls about the tough offenses the Falcons faced. “For Bri to go out there, and she was hurting, to shut them, you know, no runs. They got two on to start the game and we got out of it. I mean, that’s just the heart of these kids all year. I’m very proud of them.”
Ralls said this championship felt extra special, not just because this group of ladies won for a second straight time, but it’s also the program’s 10th state title in the past 19 years.