Polson Purple Rain 16,18U finishes season filled with promise

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POLSON PURPLE RAIN first basemen Quinn Motichka tags a runner out during the 16,18U Team USA softball tournament Saturday in Belgrade. (photo courtesy of Bob Gunderson)

Polson Lady Pirates’ manager Larry Smith continues to express confidence in the potential of the Polson 16, 18U softball team that lost back-to-back games at the Team USA softball tournament this weekend in Belgrade.

The Purple Rain’s season fastpitch may be over, but there is plenty in store for the team’s future, Smith said. Smith said he was “proud of the effort” of a very young Purple Rain that defeated Billings Havoc and the Great Falls Xplosion to advance to the semifinals before falling to a Columbia Falls/Libby team and before they were eliminated by Butte Magic.

“I thought we had a very successful season with three of our five tournaments in a championship game and the other two tournaments we put ourselves in the semifinals,” Smith said. “It’s a very young bunch and they are exciting. There is a lot of speed, especially with the younger players. With all of this speed, we are going to be a team to be afraid of next spring.”

The Purple Rain started the tournament with a victory against Billings Havoc scoring a total of eight runs in the first inning.

“(In the first inning), we scored eight runs, batted around a couple of times, and everyone (on our team) was hitting the ball very nicely,” Smith said.

Polson topped its first inning with a 10-run fourth inning and got a “solid pitching performance” from Haley Fyant.

“Everyone in the lineup executed their at-bats and defensively we played a very, very clean game,” Smith said. “Haley pitched a game and did a super job. She had only one run that was unearned, if I remember correctly.”

When the Purple Rain faced the Great Falls Xplosion, they faced them for the fourth time this season, and according to Smith, the victory over the Xplosion was “difficult.”

A big difference between the fourth meeting and the first three meetings was they never had to face Fyant in the first three meetings.

“They beat us the first two times soundly in our championship and in Great Falls,” Smith said. “In that game, we wound up tying that game but we just ran out of time. We finally got them and they pitched a really good game. We played a clean game against them. Great Falls is a very sound team that really makes you earn things.”

In the semifinals, the Purple Rain ran into a team made up of two softball programs that earned a reputation in Class A and B: Libby and Columbia Falls.

“It was a great game going into the 7th inning,” Smith said. “We were tied 5-5 and doing really well. Then, we made a mistake. We had a walked batter and things kind of came unglued for us.”

Once again, Fyant had trouble against her nemesis, Sydney Hoyde, who hit another homerun against Fyant in the semifinal game.

“She seems to bat well against Polson and especially against Haley,” Smith said. “Her three-run home run (she hit off Haley) kind of took the wind out of our sails. When it was our turn to go up to bat and answer, we couldn’t get anything going.”

In an elimination game against Butte, the Pirates started to lose momentum, according to Smith.

“It was the fourth inning, Haley was gassed and needed a break, and at that time we were up 3-1,” Smith recalled. “We put Paige Noyes in and she was struggling with her control. Grace Quinones did OK and wasn’t walking people. They timed her up and she didn’t have a ton of speed or experience at that level. That is how they scored and took command of the game.”

The Great Falls Select ended up winning the tournament behind their dominant pitcher Tristin Achenbach, who is signed with the University of Montana for the 2017-2018 season.

The following are statistics from the 18U, 14U, 12U, and 10U at the Team USA Fastpitch softball tournament:

State 18U RAINmakers – Kaelyn Smith 9-14(3B,2B,RBI,8SB), Quinn Motichka 9-14(2B,6RBI), Laurel Bitterman 8-15(3B,RBI, 7SB), Haley Fyant 6-15(3x2B,7RBI), Marina Mayorga 3-10(3RBI), Kaylanna DesJarlais 4-16, Grace Quinones 3-15(3RBI)

Montana Junior Olympics (JO) USA State

Purple Rain (trny 2-2, 15-9-2)

18U JO USA state championship

GF Selects-Green 9, L/CF Dirtballers 0

18U third place

L/CF Dirtballers 10, MC Magic-Thatcher 6

MC Magic-Thatcher 9, Purple Rain 4 (lo)

The Purple Rain were precarious perched with a slim 3-2 lead after a two RBI single by Haley Fyant the top half of the third, but the Mining City club countered with a half dozen to end hopes of a Rain rebound back into the hardware rounds.

Polson 102 010 0 – 4 11 2

Butte 206 001 x – 9 12 1

Haley Fyant (1K,1A), Paige Noyes (3), Grace Quinones (3), Fyant (4) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. Shania Neubauer and Emma Cox.

POLSON PURPLE RAIN – Kaelyn Smith 2-4, Laurel Bitterman 2-4, Fyant 1-3(BB), Quinn Motichka 4-4, DesJarlais 1-4(FC), Noyes 0-4(FC), Quinones 0-4, Marina Mayorga 1-3, Haley Doss 0-2, Lisa Costilla 0-1.

MINING CITY MAGIC-THATCHER – Kloie Thatcher 2-4, Hannah Schaefer 3-3(BB), Shania Neubauer 0-3(E), Kendal Boltz 3-4, Emma Keeley 1-4(FC), Maddie Joseph 1-3(E), Michaela Cortright 1-2(HB), Kassidy Criscuolo 0-1, Emma Cox 0-2, Taylor Wahl 1-3, (flex) Johannah Forsberg.

2B – Thatcher, Schaefer, Wahl RBIs – Motichka, Fyant 2, Mayorga; Wahl, Boltz. SacB – Cox, Neubauer, Joseph. SB – Smith, Bitterman,


MC MAGIC-THATCHER roster affiliations – Butte Central (Kloie Thatcher, Emma Keeley, Taylor Wahl, Kassidy Criscuola), Anaconda ( Hannah Schaefer, Michaela Cortright, Johannah Forsberg), Butte (Emma Cox, Maddie Joseph), Belgrade (Shania Neubauer), Kendal Boltz (Blgs West).

L/CF Dirtballers 9, Purple Rain 5

After trailing by three, the Purple Rain rallied in the bottom half of the fifth to knot the score at five apiece on the strength of RBI generating doubles by Kaelyn Smith and Haley Fyant. But the Dirtballers applied the softball rendition of the idiomatic “dirt in your eye” expression by plating a quartet the final inning to relegate the Rain to the consolation bracket.

Libby/C Falls 102 200 4 – 9 9 2

Polson 200 030 0 – 5 *5 2

Haley Fyant and Kaylanna DesJarlais. Khalyn Hageness, K.J.Schweikert (5) and Sammee Bradeen.

LIBBY/C.FALLS DIRTBALLERS – Madisen Monigold 1-4 (E,2FC), Bridget Carvey 1-4, Schweikert 3-4, Syd Hovde 1-4, Emily Carvey 2-4, Peyton Kehr 0-4(E), Bradeen 1-1(2BB).

PURPLE RAIN – Kaelyn Smith 2-4, Laurel Bitterman 1-3(BB), Haley Fyant 2-4, Quinn Motichka 0-2(BB), DesJarlais 1-4, Paige Noyes 0-3, Grace Quinones 0-3, Marina Mayorga 0-1(E,HB), Lisa Costilla 0-0(2BB).

HR – Hovde. 3B – Bitterman. 2B – Schweikert, E.Carvey; Fyant. RBIs – Schweikert 4, Hovde 3, Bradeen; Bitterman, Fyant 2, Motichka, Mayorga. SacB – Motichka. SB – Smith, Bitterman 2.

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s): GC P4h


Purple Rain 3, GF Xplosion 1

The preceding Electric City Heat Classic encounter between these two teams ended knotted at three apiece, whereas the pair of early SPLASH tournament outings had been 11-1 and 6-0 loses, showing measurable improvement. This time around, the Purple Rain bomb squad diffused the explosive lineup of this Great Falls all-star squad comprised mostly of State AA runnerup Great Falls High Lady Bison with a sprinkling of other players.

Polson 100 020 0 – 3 9 1

Great Falls 100 000 0 – 1 5 4

Erin Hocker and Cayley Bushong. Haley Fyant and Kaylanna DesJarlais.

POLSON PURPLE RAIN – Kaelyn Smith 3-4, Laurel Bitterman 2-4, Fyant 1-4(E,FC), Quinn Motichka 2-4, DesJarlais 0-4(E), Paige Noyes 0-4(E), Grace Quinones 0-4(E), Marina Mayorga 1-3, Lisa Costilla 0-2, (flex) Haley Doss.

GREAT FALLS XPLOSION – Sarah Conway 3-4, Katie McEwen 0-4(FC), Tanaya Krenik 0-2(HB), Caylee Bushong 2-3, Kylee Stoll 0-2, Bury 0-1, Hocker 0-2(BB), Twila Reovan 0-3, Cassie Hudson 0-3 Veda Root 0-3 (E).

3B – Smith; Bushong. 2B – Fyant; Conway, Bushong. RBI – Fyant, Motichka; Bushong. SacB – Costilla. SB – Smith 2, Quinones.


Sara Bury (Blgs W)

Purple Rain 18, Magic City Havoc 1

The Rain lived up to their name by wreaking havoc upon the Havoc.

Polson 800 (10) – 18 20 0

Billings 001 ( 0 ) – 1 4 2

Haley Fyant (4K), Paige Noyes (4) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. Emily Marcum and Jess Ellis.

POLSON PURPLE RAIN – Kaelyn Smith 2-2, Laurel Bitterman 3-4, Fyant 2-4, Quinn Motichka 3-4, DesJarlais 2-4, Noyes 3-4, Grace Quinones 3-4, Marina Mayorga 1-3, Haley Doss , Lisa Costilla 1-3.

MAGIC CITY HAVOC – Ashlynne Copinga 0-2(FC), Aliya Morrow 0-1(HB), Shae Earley 1-2(RBI), Jess Ellis 1-2, Taylor Bowen 1-2, Zoe Thorp(sp?) 1-1.

2B – Smith, Fyant, Motichka, DesJarlais, Noyes. RBIs – Earley; Smith, Fyant 2, Motichka 3, DesJarlais 2, Noyes 3, Quinones 3, Mayorga. SacH – Mayorga. SB – Smith 4, Bitterman 4, Motichka, Quinones 2.


16U JO USA State

Venue: Belgrade

No area teams were featured among the 16U bracket, but individual players are sprinkled among the softball squads. Lauren Vergeront of Polson is among the roster of the Bitterroot sparks, while Montana Avalanche Butler features the Mission-Arlee-Charlo tandem of Azia Rain Umphrey and Tomi Brazill. The 16U Missoula Lady Osprey feature a trio of Polson players among their roster in Emilie Corley, Addie McColl and Kaylee Evertz.

16U championship

Belgrade Fastpitch-White 16, Bitterroot Sparks 6

16U third place

Bitterroot Sparks-Bessette 11, MT Avs-Butler 2

Avs-Butler (11-15-1)

MT AVS-BUTLER – Tomi Brazill 1H

Belgrade Fastpitch Green 5, Lady Os 4


Belgrade Fastpitch White 8, Lady Os 1


Lady Osprey-Hickethier 7, Bitterroot Sparks-Bessette 5

Lady Os (14-10-2)

Amber Hickethier and Jaylynn Cooper. Lauren Vergeront (2K), Shannon Byrne (3) and catcher.

LADY Os – Emilie Corley 1-3, Addie McColl 1-3, (cr) Kaylee Evertz (1R)

1Gr. Falls Heat 143 126 x – 17 18 6

Shelby Dunwell, Grace Hardy (5 ?) and catcher. Morgan Sunchild, Anna Toon and catcher.



14U first championship

Avs-Weisgram 11, EC Heat White-Palmer 8

Missoula Avs 011 063 0 – 11 *11 2

Gr. Falls Heat 003 014 0 – 8 16 *9

Shelby Dunwell, Morgan Holmes (6 )[2IP, 1K] and catcher. Anna Toon and catcher



14U third place

MT Avs-W 10, Lady Regs-Mohl 9

Kalispell 031 201 2 – 9 11 1

Missoula 200 202 4 – 10 21 3

Shelby Dunwell, Grace Hardy (5) and catcher. Sage Vanderpool and catcher.

MT AVALANCHE-WEISGRAM – Josie Caye 4H, Grace Hardy 4H(4RBI)


MT Avs-Weisgram 11, Blgs Force-Matthews 8

Missoula 001 200 8 – 11 13 2

Billings 600 100 1 – 8 11 6

Shelby Dunwell, Destiny Manuel (7) and catcher. Deven Creech and catcher.

MT AVALANCHE-WEISGRAM – Josie Caye 4H(2RBI), Destiny Manuel (2RBI), Grace Hardy 2H, Morgan Holmes (2RBI)


Avs-Weisgram 18, Avs-Fraser 2

Macao Jackson (1K), Kenzie and catcher. Shelby Dunwell and catcher


Regulators-Mohl 7, MT Avs-Weisgram 4

Avs (36-11-1)


MT Avs-Weisgram 14, Belgrade Fastpitch-Green 1


MT Avs-Weisgram 15, Belgrade Fastpitch-White 3


MT Avs-Weisgram 8, EC Heat-Bell 4


14U Polson Lakers (2-2 trny, 18-18 all)

MC Magic-McCarthy 7, Lakers 0

Gianna Fyant, Ellie Thiel (3) and Lexi Orien.

POLSON LAKERS – Finkbeiner 1-1 (2B), stranded 7 batters (lob)


Lakers 15, Emmanuel Halos 7

Katelyn Druyvestein (10K) and Kallie Finkbeiner.

POLSON LAKERS – Gianna Fyant 1-5, Druyvestein 3-5(RBI), Ellie Thiel 2-5, Finkbeiner 4-4(3x2B,4RBI,BB), Savanna Carpentier 4-5(2B,4RBI,SB), Lexi Orien 2-5(RBI), Anna Vert 2-3(BB), Kobbey Smith 2-4(2B,4RBI), Liz Scabbyrobe 0-1(HB,R), Beth Hewankorn 0-1(BB,R).


Lady Regulators-Mohl 16, Lakers 0


Polson Lakers 15, Miles City Renegades 0

Katelyne Druyvestein (9K,1H) and Kallie Finkbeiner.

LAKERS – Ellie Thiel 3-3, Finkbeiner 3-3(2RBI), Savanna Carpentier 2-2(2B,2RBI,BB), Lexi Orien 1-3(4RBI), Kobbey Smith 2-3(2B,RBI), Beth Hewankorn 1-1(RBI,2BB).


12U JO USA State

Venue: Bozeman

The 12U age bracket featured a pair of teams with full fledged area players among their rosters in the Hanson-coached Polson Purple Wave and the Ronan Maidens. Both these teams were eliminated from advancement, but a handful of area players competed in the title tilt for hardware. The Hanninen-coached Avalanche features Payton Smith among their roster, while the Gagner-coached Avalanche lace their lineup with the likes of Sophia Forgey from Arlee.

12U championship

Avs-Schneiter 5, Avs-Ries 4

Although this 12U championship was between two Missoula-based Avalanche teams, the Mission Valley had its share of representation in the title tilt with Kooper Page of Mission among the champion Schneider squad and the Crawford sisters from Arlee along with Ashlynn Depoe of Polson on the roster of runnerup Ries.

Avs-Schneiter (37-9), Avs-Ries (31-13)

Avs-Ries 000 110 2 – 4 9 0

Schneiter 102 010 1 – 5 11 1

Kooper Page (1K,5H,1W), Kylie Kovatch (5) and Kasidy Yeoman. Ashlyn Depoe (1K,8H,2W), Kendra Jacobs (5) and Emma Ries.

MT AVALANCHE RIES – Jerny Crawford 2-3(RBI,BB,R), Rheid Crawford 1-2.


12U third place

Avs-Ries 9, Selects-Jarazeski 3

Avs-Ries 17, Belg Fastpitch Grn 7

Avs-Schneiter 8, GF Selects-Jaraczeski 7

Avs-Ries 11, Avs-Hanninen 1

Avs-Ries 16, Blgs Force 0

Avs-Schneiter 15, Avs-Hanninen 0

MT Avs-Ries 11, Purple Wave 1

Turquoise Pierre (3K,4W) and Mckenna Hanson. Kendra Jacobs and Emma Ries

MT AVALANCHE – Jerny Crawford 2-3(2RBI,2R), Rheid Crawford 0-1(BB,SB,R), Ashlyn Depoe 1-3(RBI,R)

POLSON PURPLE WAVE – Nikki Kendall 0-2(BB), Pierre 0-1(BB), Reegan Stinger 1-2(R), Taylor Henricksen 0-1(BB,SB). (Sa08Jul17gm39)

GF Selects-Jaraczeski 13, Purple Wave 1

Turquoise Pierre (4K,1W), Alexis Johnson (4) and Mckenna Hanson. Lauren Lindseth, Tenny Ehnes (4) and

POLSON PURPLE WAVE – Nikki Kendall 0-1(BB), Hanson 1-2, Pierre 1-2(SB), Aubree Marshall 1-2, Taylor Henricksen 0-1(BB), Caitlyn Ward 0-1(BB,R), Alexis Johnson(SacB).


Purple Wave 16, Bitterroot Sparks-Berning 0

Sparks (4-14-1)

Polson 506 05 – 16 16 0

Bitterroot 000 00 – 0 0 *4

Turquoise Pierre (9K,2W) and Mckenna Hanson. Autumn Sutton, Shilo Lampi (4) and #8 Regan M.

PURPLE WAVE – Nikki Kendall 1-3, Hanson 2-5, Tyneesha Brown 1-3, Pierre 4-4, Aubree Marshall 2-3, Idella West 1-1, Reegan Stinger 1-3, Taylor Henricksen 0-3(D3K,E), Caitlyn Ward 3-3, Alexis Johnson 0-3, Bella Paul 1-1.

2B – Marshall, Hanson. RBIs – Kendall, Hanson, Brown, Pierre 2, Marshall, Stinger, Henricksen 2, Ward 4, Paul. BB – Brown, Stinger, Henricksen, Paul, Kendall 2, Ward; Jesse 3, Sutton.

7SB – Marshall, Hanson, Stinger 2, Henricksen, Pierre, Kendall.

Runs – Kendall 2, Hanson, Brown, Pierre 3, Marshall 2, West, Stinger 2, Henricksen 3, Johnson.

(Fr07Jul17gm13) Bozeman

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s): BS13e

Bozeman Stealers-Ouellette 16, Ronan Maidens 8

Blgs Force-Chartier 14, Ronan Mighty Maidens 2,

Blgs Force (34-3)

Ronan 000 2 – 2 3 0

Billings 233 6 – 14 13 0

#12 (3IP:6K) and catcher. Caelin C and catcher.

T.M. Tyariah Morigeau (BB)


2016 roster = Morigeau 1-4, Ella Brown 1-3, Kelsey Gillen 1-4, S.Gardipe 2-3, Kaleigh Benson 0-4, Bella Dubeil 2-3, Kaydance Santos 1-3, Brogan Youngren 0-1, Sidney Bauer 2-2 [awaiting PA: Wenona YellowOwl, Kysis Santos, Jelayna Tenas, Emma Gardipe].

10U JO USA State

Venue: Bozeman

10U Championship

Kalispell Emeralds 7, Bitterroot Sparks 4


MT Warriors Black 10, Avs-Sammoury 7


Avs-Sammoury 16, Helena Halos 6


Avs-Sammoury 17, Belgrade Fastpitch Green 4


Kalispell Emeralds 10, Avs-Sammoury 1


MT Avs-Sammoury 17, Belgrade Fastpitch White 1


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