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Lady Hawks softball ready for Western B tourney

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | May 17, 2023 12:00 AM

It was a busy week last week as the Thompson Falls Lady Hawks got ready for playoff softball action beginning this Thursday in Anaconda.

The Hawks opened their five game week with a 6-1 home loss to Mission/Arlee/Charlo and their talented pitching staff. They then hit the road the next day, Friday for a pair of games in Shelby, followed by another two games Saturday, also up north.

In the end, the Lady Hawks held their own against some talented teams with solid pitching and came away with two wins and three losses as they get ready for the Western B-C Divisional tournament this week.

Thompson Falls brings a 13-8 season record into the tourney, where they will face the third seed from the South at 3 p.m.

Against a tough MAC team last Thursday, the Lady Hawks were pretty much held in check by a pair of Lady Bulldog pitchers. After a scoreless first inning, the visitors scored a solo run in the top of the second, then added three more runs in the top of the third to take a 4-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs I Evans scattered three T Falls hits and struck out four batters in the 2.1 innings she worked. She was relieved in the bottom of the third with one out and her replacement also allowed three hits and one unearned run over 4.2 innings while striking out two T Falls batters.

MAC added solo runs in the top half of both the fifth and sixth innings, building a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.

T Falls pushed across a single run but could not come up with the timely hit they were seeking. In the end, the Lady Bulldogs outhit Thompson Falls 11-6 for the game, all six being singles by six different T Falls players.

In their mini-tournament opener Friday afternoon on the road, the Conrad Cowdogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one inning of play. T Falls came back with a solo run in the top of the second, but that was matched in the bottom of the second, keeping the score 4-1 in favor of Conrad.

The Cowdogs continued to add to their lead the rest of the game, while holding T Falls to one run. After scoring two in the third, three in the fourth and three more in the fifth inning, Conrad was declared the winner due to the Mercy rule.

Cheyla Irvine was two for two at the plate for the Lady Hawks, while McKenzie Robinson was one for two with an RBI.

Later that same day, the Lady Hawks shook off the earlier loss in a big way, pouncing on Cut Bank/Valier’s pitching for four runs in the top of the first inning. Along the way, T Falls freshman Brooklyn Cork went three for five with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Lady Hawks attack. They also got a pair of RBIs from sophomore catcher Sarah Koskela, who was 2-4 at the plate, as was Olivia Fitchett, who also batted in a pair of runs with a pair of hits, one of them a home run.

By the end of the third, T Falls was up 9-2. They made it 10-2 in the top of the fifth, then saw the lead shrink in the bottom of the inning when the Wolves scored two runs. T Falls answered those two runs with three in the top of the sixth and four more in the top of the seventh after Cut Bank/Valier scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. The final score was T Falls over the Wolves 17-6.

Saturday morning the softball fest continued when the Lady Hawks went up against the Glasgow/Hinsdale/Nashua co-op team. Neither team scored until the top of the third when the Lady Scotties pushed across a pair of runs, then added a solo run in the top of the fourth to make it 3-0 in their favor.

T Falls answer that lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, then two more in the bottom of the fifth. Glasgow, however, had tacked on two runs in the top of the fifth and after five innings the score was 5-4 Scotties.

After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams, Glasgow scored twice in the top of the seventh, then held the T Falls offense in check to wrap up a 7-4, hard fought win over the Lady Hawks.

Senior Liv McCormick was 3-4 batting for the Hawks, while Olivia Harnett also was three for four from the plate with a pair of runs batted in. Harnett had a pair of doubles for T Falls.

Saturday evening Thompson Falls met up with Shelby and wasted no time in taking control of the game. The Lady Hawks scored 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning as they took advantage of four costly Lady Coyote errors while banging out five hits.

Shelby could not score in the top of the second and the game was called after just an inning and a half, with T Falls awarded a 12-0 victory.

Koskela worked both innings against the Coyotes, striking out five and not allowing a hit during her brief time on the mound.