MISSOULA — Missoula Big Sky earned its first upset win of the softball season by beating Kalispell Glacier, 10-7, Tuesday in Missoula.
It was a big rebound win for the Eagles, who had just suffered a 12-10 loss to Butte last week when they lost a late lead in their thwarted bid. They are now 2-6 overall and 2-2 in Western AA play after going 3-11 in conference last year under head coach Trevor Subith’s first season.
“It’s our biggest win since I’ve been here,” he said. “Beating a team like Glacier with what they had in return and being predicted as one of the top two teams in the west was huge. Last year we beat the teams we were supposed to beat; we didn’t haven’t won a game as an underdog.
“Things are starting to turn around, which is great to see. That tells me there’s some consistency now. I hope the mindset has changed and should be that we can compete with anyone.
The Eagles opened the game with an eight-run second inning that chased starting pitcher Ella Farrell, an all-state selection last year. They finished with 11 hits and walked six against a trio of Glacier pitchers while focusing on patience at the plate. The 10 points scored by the Eagles are the most Glacier has allowed in its 3-4 start to the season.
Big Sky sophomore Grace Hood went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored while batting in third place. Freshman Sadie McGuinn was 1 of 3 with 3 RBIs and two runs scored to lead the roster. Sophomore Logan Baack finished 3 for 3 with one run driven and two runs scored in 7th place in order.
“Our girls who were rusty or just behind are now hitting,” Subith said. “If we can get this production up and down the lineup, we’re going to be tough to beat. I think we are going to be in a very good position to shock some teams.
Big Sky’s pitchers — sophomores Liberty Rogers, Delaney Laird and Annika Loewen — are starting to come back to support an offense that has scored 10 or more runs in three of four conference games. They learned under new assistant coach Maddy Stensby, a former Montana Grizzlies pitcher, and it was Rogers’ turn to show her growth against Glacier.
Rogers allowed 11 hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking just two. She held the Wolfpack to two runs through the first five innings before making it three in the sixth and two in the seventh to cut Big Sky’s 10-2 lead. No player had more than two hits against them, and the Eagles defense made no mistake.
“Our pitching turns the corner,” Subith said. “The Liberty don’t give up big innings and our defense is playing exceptionally well. She mixed and matched the pitches and kept them off balance and guessing. They had a few big hits here and there, but last year in those situations we walked six times, then made a mistake, then gave up a big hit.
“We don’t make mistakes behind our pitchers and it doesn’t work on anyone. At the beginning of this year, I thought we would hit and if we could throw and play defense we would be in good shape.
Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at [email protected]