Eagles take 4-2 win from Western AA champion Sentinel in regular-season finale for both teams
The laughs just kept on coming Thursday afternoon as the Missoula Big Sky softball team rallied for a 4-2 victory over cross-town rival Sentinel at McEnaney Field.
The Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to topple the Western AA conference champions in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Coach Al Stohle's Big Sky Eagles wrapped up the season with a 5-7 league record and 11-10 overall.
"This bunch, they're a funny bunch in that they can play as poorly as probably anybody going and they can play as well as anybody going," said Stohle of his players. "We can play with anybody in the state."
The game was a little more meaningful to the Eagles as they moved up a spot in the league standings. Sentinel captured its second consecutive division title with a win over Kalispell on Tuesday.
"We definitely wanted it though," said Sentinel coach Brian Bessette. "We came here to win. We wanted to win. Big Sky just kept coming at us, kept coming at us and we threw the ball around."
Big Sky began the sixth with back-to-back singles by Lynnae Foshag and Deidre Ranf. After Foshag advanced to third on a passed ball, JoDee Krause hit a grounder to shortstop Leah Madden. Foshag broke for home as Madden checked her at third. It delayed Madden long enough for Krause to beat her throw to first as the tying run crossed the plate.
After a Big Sky out, pinch runner Stevie Coulter stole third and Krause followed her to second. The Eagles' No. 9 hitter Amanda Armstrong ripped a fastball down the third-base line which Allison Rasmussen handled but overthrew first, allowing Coulter and Krause to score the go-ahead runs.
Sentinel scored its first run the same way. An error in the outfield allowed leadoff hitter Maren Buck to reach second. Pinch runner Jessica Miles then scored on an RBI single to right by Stefani Hertz.
"We were a little flat starting out," Stohle said. "When we had that error right quick there in the first inning and they jumped on us with that run, it took us a couple of innings to adjust to that."
The Spartans (9-3, 14-8) scored another run in the top of the fourth when Ashley Dugdale knocked in Janie Purdy for a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Amanda Stubb reached on a throwing error and came across the plate on a throwing error by the Spartans' infield.
"We can't go to state and have innings like that," said Bessette. "We had two innings that killed us today."
Big Sky and Sentinel will head to Great Falls next week for the state