The Scottie girls didn’t know it at the time, but their defeat of Shepherd, 10-5, on Saturday gave them the Eastern B/C Divisional Championship.
With the tournament pounded by rain, the divisional championship game was cancelled, giving the Scottie girls, the only undefeated team remaining in the tournament, the title, completed the third of their four goals for the season.
“We got our first three objectives out of the way. We took first in our conference, finished the regular season strong and won the conference tournament – one more objective to go,” said Head Coach Mark Falcon.
That final objective is something they fell just short of completing last season, taking second in the state behind Florence-Carlton. And, of course, there’s Florence-Carlton again this year, returning their entire team, waiting for the Scottie girls in the second round of the state tournament. If all goes to plan.
The Lady Falcons (20-4) were upset in their divisional tournament by Ronan (20-4), setting them up on the Scottie girls’ side of the bracket as the second-seed out of the West.
“You’ve got to play them anyhow,” said Falcon when asked about the potential matchup with the defending state champs.
The Scottie girls and the Lady Falcons played three times in last year’s state tourney. Glasgow won the first game in the semi-final, upsetting the heavily favored Falcons. However, Florence-Carlton maneuvered through the backdoor in the losers’ bracket to meet the Scottie girls in the championship. They beat Glasgow two straight to steal the title.
Falcon is, and has been, preaching one game at a time for his team, though. He doesn’t want them looking ahead with St. Ignatious (15-7) on the schedule first Thursday afternoon.
“They’ve got a lot of runs scored against them this year so far, so maybe that’s a good sign for us. But we’ll see how that goes,” said Falcon.
However, Florence-Carlton, masters of the bunt and slap bunt, with seven lefties on their team, are still lurking in the second round. Maybe not so coincidentally, the Scottie girls have been focusing heavily on defending the bunt the last few weeks and into this week, despite how well they played in all areas of the game at divisionals.
“We played probably the best weekend we’ve played all year,” said Falcon. “We got out right away.”
Another area the Scottie girls had been focusing on is hitting early in the game, not waiting until the later innings to get going. They did just that in Columbus in the two contests they got in before the rain.
They only played one inning against Stillwater on Friday before being rescheduled to Saturday morning, but they scored one in the second, two in the fourth and then broke out for five more in the fifth to cruise to the 8-0 victory.
Shyla Bergtoll got the win for the Scottie girls, pitching the complete game with eight strike outs. Sage Sukut led the way on offense, driving in three on 2-for-4 at the plate. Her sister, Sadie, drove in two with a single and a double in four at bats. Ellen Walstad and Abby Mehling each drove in two. Megan Rasmusan scored three times.
Later on Saturday, the Scottie girls fell behind 1-0 after the first but jumped on Shepherd’s pitching quickly, scoring three in the second, two more in the fourth, three in the fifth and capped off the 10-5 win with two in the seventh. Bergtoll again got the complete-game win.
The tournament was called directly after that game, giving Glasgow, Shepherd, Huntley Project and Stillwater berths to state.
Shepherd went 2-1 with an 18-1 win over Conrad and a 8-7 victory over Huntley before the loss to Glasgow. Huntley was 3-1, beating Colstrip, 7-3, then losing to Shepherd, before defeating Stillwater, 8-5, and Shelby, 9-5. Stillwater’s lone win came in a 7-3 victory over Shelby before losing to Glasgow and then Huntley.
At state, Shepherd (11-8) takes on Deer Lodge (18-8) and Ronan (20-4) faces Stillwater (7-8) on Friday at 3:30 at the Multi-Sports Complex in Great Falls. Beforehand, Glasgow (14-2) plays St. Ignatius (15-7) and Florence-Carlton (20-4) squares off with Huntley (17-3) at 1:30.
Second-round games will begin Friday morning.