Golden Eagles win two, lose two at state softball

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Dani Gapay takes a mighty swing of the bat for a hit at the Class A State Softball Tournament in Sidney.

Photo courtesy of Bob Gunderson

The Golden Eagles responded in a positive manner after losing their opening round game at the Class A State Softball Tournament held in Sidney. After a 9-1 loss to Polson to open the tournament, Fergus rebounded to take a 9-4 win over Butte Central in their first of three games on Friday.
“For reasons unknown, we came out of the gates and spun our tires,” said Fergus Coach Mike Mangold. “We did very well until we needed to get the third out of every inning. We just clammed up at inopportune times and gave up nine unearned runs to Polson.
“I was unbelievably proud of how the girls put everything together the second day,” added Mangold. “We talked about putting forth more effort, and the fact that there is no tomorrow unless we get the ‘W.’”
In the win against Butte Central, Hanna Hayes, Mikayla Comes and Val Kolstad each had a double, while Abby Gremaux earned a triple in the contest. Kolstad had three RBIs in the win as Fergus scored in the bottom of every inning except the first.
“Carley (Carpenter) pitched stellar the entire day (Friday) against Butte and Miles City,” said Mangold. “She also knew that her defense was clicking, and when that happens, a pitcher knows she doesn’t have to be perfect to get the job done. Defensively we were working harder and executing defensive sets throughout the day.
After the win over the Maroons, the Eagles faced Custer County (Miles City) in another loser out contest. At least Fergus had seen the Cowgirls on two different occasions during the regular season.
In Friday’s game, Fergus scored all five of its runs in the bottom of the first inning. Gracia Butcher got the bottom of the inning started with a single to centerfield. After  Hayes lined out, Comes followed with a single to left field to move Butcher to second. A Gremaux single loaded the bases for Kolstad. Kolstad answered with a double to centerfield to drive in the first three runs of the game. After Kinsey Irvin struck out, Elizabeth Craven reached first base on a Cowgirl error. Kolstad was also able to score on the play. With Ade Lensing at the plate, Craven stole second and then went on to third on an error by the Miles City second baseman. Lensing singled to score Craven. Macy Mangold made the third out to end the inning, but the Eagles had all the runs they would need in the contest.
Carpenter struck out 12 batters. She also gave up only two runs on four hits.

Loss to Frenchtown ends the Eagles’ season
Late Friday, the Eagles faced the five-time Class A state champion Frenchtown in the Eagles third game of the day.
“We did run into a buzz saw versus Frenchtown,” said Coach Mangold. “However, we battled hard to keep the game knotted at 1-1. When Carley started to tire, the Frenchtown bats took advantage of it.”
The game was knotted at 1-1 until the top of the fifth inning, when the Lady Broncs scored three runs. In the top of the seventh inning, Frenchtown added four more runs to take an 8-1 win.
Frenchtown then moved into the third-place game against Hamilton. Earlier on Saturday, Hamilton had lost to Belgrade in the semi-final contest. The win over Hamilton moved Frenchtown into the championship game against Belgrade. The Lady Panthers defeated Frenchtown, 6-1, to earn their first softball state championship.

Mangold pleased with girls’ success
“I’m proud of these girls as they battled through the ups and downs every season brings,” said Mangold. “We had a lot of exciting games this season, and the girls would toughen up as the games were on the line. Of our 11 losses, eight of them were to the top four teams in the state. They again showed we were one of the better teams in the state, finishing in the top six.”
Five seniors played their final games at the state tournament for Fergus. They were shortstop Comes, pitcher Carpenter and outfielders Craven, Dani Gapay and Lensing.
“Of course saying good-bye to our five seniors is hard,” said Mangold. “We will need to do our best to replace their talents next year.”



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