Polson High School coach Larry Smith said sometimes the best way to gauge his team’s character in through how they react to adversity.
This week the Lady Pirates had to deal with some adversity with their ace pitcher Haley Fyant out sick.
Not daunted by their top pitcher temporarily out, the Pirates rallied around their bats.
“I am feeling really good about the team,” Smith said. “This young bunch went on without Haley and became better pitchers and hitters. To be able to go on and win the way they did was very positive. The team was determined to be as scrappy as they could be and they had their backs against the wall. They showed up to their last practice quite upbeat and they all knew that Haley wasn’t going to be able to play. They accepted that was the way it was going to be, and they just moved forward.”
Polson won both of its game at the Butte Invitational Friday and the other two games they had scheduled snowed out on Saturday.
In the Lady Pirates’ first game of the tournament, they defeated Hardin 14-3 to win their second consecutive victory over the Lady Bulldogs of the season.
Smith made the decision to go with less experienced pitcher Paige Noyes, who started her first-ever varsity game, and finished with her first-ever varsity win.
“Noyes was able to get a lot of offensive support from our bats and the first time around we batted, we were able to get four runs right away,” Smith said. “Even after they made it closer we were able to pull away from them. When you are able to produce runs like that, it helps our young and inexperienced pitcher know that she is able to make a mistake and it’s not going to cost us the win.”
The Lady Pirates also got their first opportunity to look at Hardin’s No. 1 pitcher. In the first meeting, their No. 1 pitcher didn’t start. This time, they not only got to look at her, but were able to hit a pitcher who Larry Smith said was “formidable.”
“I thought she was a very good pitcher,” Smith said. “However, she didn’t throw with a lot of speed and didn’t locate the ball very well. Our girls teed off on her and the way she was throwing was fine with them. They went after it and we wound up with 20 hits in the game.”
Polson won its next game with a 12-5 victory over Havre prior to the weather becoming “unfavorable.”
“Havre has a pretty sound team and they were visiting, so they batted first,” Smith said. “Our bats continued to be really sound. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that they really started to hit Camas a little bit and that is when they were able to get their four runs.”
Smith said the runs surrendered were not Renault’s fault.
“To me, that inning was not Renaults’ fault, but just the way things turned out because our defense let her down a little bit,” Smith said. “We have also added a new pitcher to the fold in case Haley isn’t able to go and that is Grace Quinones. “She’s been working hard and she can get them in the strike zone. Even though she isn’t going to strike anyone out, she will put the burden on our defense to make plays.”
Smith said he would have liked to have gotten in a couple more games in Butte.
“I would have liked to have seen a couple of more games,” Smith said. “We did have some younger players playing and I would have liked to have gotten them some more tournament experience. There are a couple of more games and that would have been helpful for them. That is part of gaining confidence and experience. If something happens, we just continue on and not falter backwards.”
Polson 12, Havre 5
The Lady Pirates saddled the Blue Ponies with a double digit deficit before Havre could mount a viable counteroffensive, but by then it would be too little too late. Polson (12-7), Havre (7-7-1)
Polson 353 1 – 12 13 2
Havre 010 4 – 5 6 1
Renault (4K,2W,1PO,1A) and Benson; Alex Barkus and Nicole Parsons. W – Renault (2-2). L – Barkus.
POLSON – Smith 1-2, Bitterman 2-2, Fryberger 2-3, Motichka 2-3, Renault 1-3, Benson 3-3, DesJarlais 2-3, BigBeaver 0-2, Noyes 0-3(E), (flex) Lisa Costilla.
HAVRE – Parsons 1-2, Sam Oliver 0-3, Barkus 0-3, Jacey McDonald 0-2, Janae Boles 2-2, Maddy Tommerup 0-2, Camryn Huston 2-2, Lauren Kato 1-2, Mariah Matosich 0-1, (flex) Madi Shennum.
HR – Fryberger, Benson; Huston. 2B – Motichka 2, Renault, Desjarlais; Kato. RBIs – Fryberger 4, Benson 3, BigBeaver, Motichka *3; Huston *4, Parsons. SacB – Bitterman. SacF – BigBeaver. HB – Smith. SB – Smith(33rd ), Bitterman 19th. (Fr12May17gm2)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where media coverage differs from LP record bk: Motichka 1rbi; Huston 3rbi. Forenames gleaned from GC/HDN
Polson 14, Hardin 3
Sophomore hurler Paige Noyes picked up her first varsity win as the Lady Pirates staked her with plenty of run support. Polson (11-7)
Polson 452 12 – 14 20 2
Hardin 201 00 – 3 4 1
Paige Noyes (2K,1W,1HB, 1PO,1A) and Ashley Benson; Ashley Uffelman and Annie Schneider. W – Noyes (1-0). L – Uffelman.
POLSON – Kaelyn Smith 4-4, Laurel Bitterman 4-4, Hannah Fryberger 2-4, Quinn Motichka 3-4, Benson 0-4(E), Kaylanna Desjarlais 1-4, Natasha Gravelle 3-3, Jerrica McCrea 0-1, Lisa Costilla *0-2, Grace Quinones 1-1, Rhiley Big Beaver 2-3, Camas Renault 0-1(FC).
HARDIN – A.Uffelman 1-3, Schneider 1-3, Natalie Edgar 1-2, Demi Uffelman 1-3, Nicole Green 0-1, Kelly Feller 0-2, Karissa DuShane *0-2, Gabby Lopez 0-2, Kristen Proctor 0-2, (flex) Sloan Blankenship, (on deck, dnb) Mae Little Light, Courtney Uffelman.
HR – Fryberger; D.Uffelman. 3B – Smith. 2B – Smith, Motichka, Desjarlais; A.Uffelman. RBIs – Bitterman 3, Fryberger 4, Motichka, Gravelle 2, Big Beaver, *Quinones; Schneider, D.Uffelman. SB – Smith 3, Bitterman 2. SacB – Costilla. DP – Polson. (Fr12May17gm1)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where media coverage differs from LP record bk: Costilla 3ab, Quinones 0rbi; DuShane 1ab, Little Light 1ab, C.Uffelman 1ab.
Flathead 5, Polson 4
At Kidsports Complex, the visiting Lady Pirates were KOed by a pair of Kylee. Polson found themselves a bit out of synch without their mound mischief maker well as cleanup batter Haley Fyant among their lineup. By contrast, the Bravettes took full advantage of the occasion as pending graduates Kylee Meredith (4th 2R) and Kylee Beccari (6th 2R) both homered to rally for the win on their Senior Night. Polson (10-7), Flathead (2-15)
Polson 110 200 0 – 4 *12 2
Flathead 100 202 x – 5 *11 4
Camas Renault (2K,3W,1HB,2PO,1A) and Ashley Benson. Maitlynn Betts and Jayden Russell. W – Betts. L – Renault (1-2).
POLSON — Kaelyn Smith *3-3, Quinn Motichka *1-4, Hannah Fryberger 1-3, Ashley Benson *1-3, Camas Renault *2-4, Kaylanna DesJarlais 2-4, Lisa Costilla *0-3, Jerrica McCrea *0-1, Paige Noyes *0-3, Natasha Gravelle *0-1, Laurel Bitterman *2-2.
FLATHEAD — Jayden Russell 1-4, Riley Chouinard 0-2, Kylee Meredith *3-4, Kaycee Smith *1-4, Kaileigh Denna 0-2, Kylee Beccari 3-4, Bailey Nunn 1-3, Maitlynn Betts 2-4, Kayla Kallis 0-3.
HR – Meredith, Beccari. 2B – Fryberger, *Bitterman; Russell. RBIs – Benson, Smith; Meredith 2, Beccari 2. BB – Smith, Benson, Noyes; Chouinard, Denna 2. HB – Chouinard. SB – Smith 4(29th). (Tu09May17)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) between specs reported to media and visiting tm assessment(s): P6h/F8h: Smith 1-4 (BB,1B,1B,1B), Motichka 0h, Benson 0h, Renault 1h, Costilla 4ab, McCrea 0ab, Gravelle 2ab, Bitterman 1h; Meredith 1-3, Kaycee Smith 0-3.