BELGRADE — The Class B/C state softball tournament kicked off Thursday in Belgrade and on the second day, fans will already get to see a state title rematch. Defending champion Florence will meet Huntley Project in the quarterfinals after both teams won first-round games Thursday. Missoula Loyola and Plains-Hot Springs also earned first-round wins.
Note: Click each game’s score line for video highlights.
Huntley Project 4, Manhattan 3
The Red Devils’ pitching came out on fire as Addison Hultgren recorded eight strikeouts in the first nine outs of the game. She fanned 11 total batters as she pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits and three runs. Manhattan’s Amy Grevious hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to cut Huntley Project’s lead to 3-2 and then the Tigers tied the game two batters later after an error at second. But errors hurt the Tigers, as a wild pitch scored Project’s Rylie Wadman from third as the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning.
The defending state champion Falcons jumped right out of the gate, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning. Mackenzie Little and Kylie Kovatch both went 1-for-3 with two RBI in the victory. Dominant pitching was key for Florence as Shannon Bryne had 10 strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched and allowed just one run. Mary Beth Morse led the way for Conrad, going 3-for-3 and scoring two runs in the contest.
Missoula Loyola 13, Shepherd 3
Breakers junior McKenna Bessette made her presence known on the first day of the state tournament. Not only did she pitch three innings and wave seven batters, she also went 4-for-4 at the plate with six RBI and two runs. Her teammate Kayla Hickethier drove in four runs in the win.
Plains-Hot Springs 9, Cut Bank 1
The Trotters’ offense came alive in the second inning as senior Kenzie Angle hit a two-RBI double to give Plains a 2-0 lead over Cut Bank, which would prove to be the winning runs as Cut Bank struggled to get offense going against Plains pitcher Kassidy Kinzie. The Trotters added three more runs to lead 5-0 after five innings. Plains will face Missoula Loyola in the quarterfinals.
The Class B/C state tournament resumes at 10 a.m. Friday. For updated scores and pairings throughout the tournament, please click here.