With just three outdoor practices under their belt, it was a sluggish start Saturday morning in Billings.
Belgrade’s softball team twice rallied for victories at the Billings Public Schools Softball Jamboree before a third attempt fell short. Still, first-year coach Andrea Folkman was pleased with the effort after the two-time defending Class A champions posted a 2-1 record.
“The first two games we were behind in both of them, but we made some adjustments in those first two games and we ended up coming out and playing really hard,” said Folkman. “So I was pleased with that.”
The jamboree was a late addition to the schedule — the team found out about it Thursday night — and conflicted with prom.
“It was kind of a question whether we were going to go because prom’s tonight and there were girls that were sad or upset that we wanted to go to these games because prom’s a big deal. They didn’t want to miss out on that,” said Folkman. “We figured it out and everybody ended up happy they were able to do both.”
The Panthers rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to beat Billings Senior 4-1 to start the day, and then overcame a 3-run hole to beat Billings West 4-3. But Billings Skyview snuffed out a late rally in the finale, beating Belgrade 4-0.
The Panthers had runners at second and third in the top of the fifth, but were unable to score and then the game concluded on the one hour time limit.
“We could have come back that one too. That was close,” said Folkman. “We just didn’t make adjustments soon enough. That was the story there.”
Erin Elgas walked three batters and allowed a run in the bottom of the first against Senior, then she settled into the contest. The senior did not allow another hit and struck out four in three innings of work.
“She kind of struggled for a minute, but I feel like she just needed to get in a rhythm. It was cold, we left at 5:30 in the morning, and I think everybody just needed to get on the field and settle into the game,” said Folkman. “And with one hour it’s hard because you got to do that really quickly. You don’t have a ton of time to adjust ... but she was able to do it. She did a really good job and I’m very pleased with her performance.”
Belgrade was only able to muster three hits in the contest, but scored a pair of runs in both the second and third innings. Kenna Thomas belted a two-out double in the second to spark the scoring, while Olivia Cook had a sacrifice fly and Maddisen Tomasetti a single to drive in runs in the third.
West scored all three of its runs in the second inning following a lead off double by Shea Dolan. But the Panthers tied the game at 3-all in the third, and then an effective game of small ball led the game-winning run in the fourth. Thomas drew a lead off walk, advanced to second on a ground out, and later scored on a bunt by Kamie Gorrell.
“That was all short game small ball,” noted Folkman. “Really good base running, really good well time bunts. Well time hits and just being aggressive on the bases. We were able to squeeze in a couple girls and that was really fun to watch, and it’s really energizing.”
Gorrell and Cook were 2-for-2 against West, while Thomas and Lanie Morgan hit doubles on the day.
Belgrade 4, Billings Senior 1
Belgrade 022 - 4 3 0
Senior 100 - 1 1 0
Erin Elgas and Haylee Curry. Unavailable.
BELGRADE - Curry 0-1, Hazel Eaton 0-1, Lanie Morgan 0-1, Olivia Cook 0-2, Maddisen Tomasetti 1-2, Ellie Milesnick 0-1, Kenna Thomas 1-1, Kenna Thomas 1-1 (2B), Sheridan Smith 1-1, Kamie Gorell 0-0.
BILLINGS SENIOR - Laurel Kilgore 0-2, Lauren Gordon 0-1, Jensen Keller 1-2, Dacee Zent 0-1, Cassidy Venner 0-0, Kara Standing Rock 0-1, Kendree Morton 0-1, Unavailable 0-1, Allison Nyquist 0-0.
Belgrade 4, Billings West 3
Belgrade 003 1 - 4 5 0
West 030 x - 3 10 0
Kaleigh Bauerlie and Ellie Milesnick.
Kinzee Koch and McKinsey Matthews.
BELGRADE - Haylee Curry 0-2, Hazel Eaton 0-2, Lanie Morgan 1-3 (2B), Olivia Cook 2-2, Maddisen Tomasetti 0-2, Milesnick 0-2, Kenna Thomas 0-0, Madi Kreiger 0-2, Kamie Gorrell 2-2.
BILLINGS WEST - Lauren Blaschak 2-2, Koch 1-2, Emma Balsam 2-2, Matthews 0-2, Carrie Carpenter 0-1, Shea Dolan 1-2 (2B), Chloe Nelson 1-2, Madison Johnson 1-2, Halle Spring 1-2.
Billings Skyview 4, Belgrade 0
Belgrade 000 00 - 0 3 0
Senior 400 0x - 4 5 0
Hazel Eaton and Haylee Curry. Shea Earley and unavailable.
BELGRADE - Curry 0-2, H. Eaton 0-2, Lanie Morgan 0-1, Maddisen Tomasetti 1-2 (2B), Kenna Thomas 0-2, Madi Kreiger 0-2, Erin Elgas 1-2, Arin Eaton 0-1, Tyclee Bowler 0-0, Kamie Gorrell 1-2 (2B).
BILLINGS SKYVIEW - Natalie Beck 0-1, Raegan Harper 1-2, #25 1-2 (HR), Earley 1-2, Klaire Morris 0-2, #18, 0-2, #14 1-2, #19 0-2, Libbi Painter 1-2.