The Missoula-based 14U Garden City Junior Leaguers (GCJL) showed the world that Montana girls know a thing or two about how to play softball despite growing up in a state that features more cattle than people. GCJL posted a record of 4-2 on the Junior League World Series stage, unfortunately dropping their first seeded bracket play contest that would deny them access into the hardware rounds. The Mission Valley affiliated contingent of Josie Caye (Polson), Destiny Manuel (Charlo), Morgan Holmes (2nd generation Ronan grad) and Grace Hardy (2nd generation Charlo grads) collaborated on 15 hits over the course of the tournament, scoring a dozen runs while generating nine RBIs overall.
The hitter remained competitive in the tournament against some ofthe top-caliber softball teams in the the entire world thus helping their cause to try to position themselves to earn a college softball scholarship in the future.
Josie Caye 6-20, (3)2B, 3RBI, SacF, 3R, 1SB
Destiny Manuel 2-8, 2RBI, 1R,1BB
Morgan Holmes 6-20, 1RBI, 6R, 1SB
Grace Hardy 1H, 3RBI, 2R, 10IP, 3K
A for Athleticism,
D for Discretion
Ordinarily, there tends to be limited interest in commenting on how other teams fared when your squad of interest has progressed as far as they can go. But in this case the ensuing drama that would take place in the hardware rounds merits mention.
After host Kirkland relegated the Missoula-based Garden City Junior Leaguers to consolation play in their quarterfinal match, they would face a Virginia-based Southeast squad in one of the semifinals. Southeast would remain undefeated in World Series action with a 1-0 nailbiter over Kirkland, turning an inning ending double play with the go ahead run on base to vault their team into the championship against the other semifinal victor Central.
During the course of the Southeast vs. Host game there were incidents more reminiscent of a version of the 2004 teen comedy “Mean Girls” played out on a softball diamond. Included among incidents were an opposing base runner stealing signs being called into the Virginia catcher and relaying those to her fellow batters at the plate. Those indiscretions resulted in that player’s ejection as well as one of the coaches for that or another reason.
After the game had wrapped, the Virginia players vented their displeasure with a postgame dugout photo that featured an underlying caption “watch out Host,” further enhanced when a half dozen of them deployed derogatory digits to diss their detractors. In a Star Trek universe, any spur of the moment decision like taking a photo of yourselves flipping the bird at your opponent denotes impulse power. But once the photo migrated onto someone’s Snapchat account, the speed of its dissemination through social media took place at warp factor. If the pen is said to be mightier than the sword as an example of words being stronger than actions, then here is an instance where the picture power of the post threatens to usurp the power of the press.
While the intent might have been to merely disparage their hosts in retaliation, the Southeast garnering attention from unexpected quarters. Little League officials back home as well as International representatives became aware of the incident which they deemed deplorable. Their response would culminate in a detrimental decision for the Southeast, resulting in them being barred from further participation: disqualified on the basis of unsportsmanlike conduct, violation of social media etiquette and conduct unbecoming of Little League ambassadors. Their eligibility to participate further in the tournament would be revoked, disqualified mere hours before they were slated to play in the championship as the only remaining undefeated team among entrants.
Polson knows only too well the power of the social media post after the infamous White Power fiasco last Fall was misconstrued far beyond its context. A couple of T-shirts marker-enhanced with a “White Power” inscription had been intended as a revel in another junior class spirit week victory, that time for the most fellow classmates attired in their designated color after preceding thematic triumphs. But initially benign intentions became misperceived as a racially charged slogan that denigrates others of differing ethnicities. Perhaps three pieces of advice emerge from the events of this tournament that merit repetition: Be humble in victory, exercise grace in defeat and ponder before you post.
The two players got the opportunity to represent the area softball talent of the Mission Valley on a world stage.
2017 Junior League Softball World Series
July 30-August 5
Central 7, Dist 9 Host 1
Central 6, East 4
*Southeast 1, Dist 9 Host 0
JLSBWS Bracket Play
#2B West 10, #3B Southwest 0
Helotes (TX) 000 00 – 0 2 6
Missoula (MT) 442 0 x – 10 6 1
Tari Chawayipira, Olivia Ball (3) and Sophia Garcia, Sabrina Graf (3). Mackenzie Moore and Emily Hermes.
GARDEN CITY JLSB – Josie Caye 2-2(2B,RBI,SacF,2R), Morgan Holmes 2-3(RBI,2R), Grace Hardy 0-3(RBI,2R), Destiny Manuel 0-1.
FC – Hardy. ROE – Hardy. D3K – Holmes. DP – (t3) Holmes, Hardy.
#3A Dist 9 Host 13, #2B West 3
West (3-2), Dist 9 Host (3-2)
Missoula (MT) 010 101 – 3 5 7
Kirkland (WA) 007 402 – 13 17 3
Shelby Dunwell, Grace Hardy (3), Mackenzie Moore (5) and Emily Hermes. Antonia Norman, Ruby Olmstead (4) and Anna Fridell.
GARDEN CITY JLSB – Josie Caye 1-3, Destiny Manuel 0-1(RBI), Grace Hardy 0-3, Morgan Holmes 1-2(BB,R). ROE – Hardy, Manuel. DP – (b1) West, (t6) Dist 9 Host.
JLSBWS Pool Play
West 5, Latin America 3
Maunabo (PR) 001 020 0 – 3 10 6
Missoula (MT) 001 211 x – 5 10 0
Paola Perez, Jonelis Pagan (6) and Coralys Santiago. Shelby Dunwell, Grace Hardy (6), Dunwell (7) and Emily Hermes.
GARDEN CITY JLSB – Josie Caye 1-4(2B,RBI), Destiny Manuel 0-1(BB), Grace Hardy 0-4, Morgan Holmes 1-4(R). ROE – Hardy 2, Holmes 2, Caye. DP – (t7) Hardy, Caye.
West 4, Southwest 3
Missoula (MT) 400 000 0 – 4 9 3
Helotes (TX) 100 010 1 – 3 9 3
Olivia Ball, Annika Litterio (13K) and Sabrina Graf. Grace Hardy (3K), Shelby Dunwell (7) and Emily Hermes.
GARDEN CITY JLSB – Josie Caye 0-4(ROE), Destiny Manuel 1-2, Hardy 1-4(2RBI,FC,ROE), Morgan Holmes 0-4(FC,R). 2DP(b3,b7) – Morgan Holmes, Dre Haran 2, Grace Hardy.
West 9, Europe-Africa 1
Missoula 702 000 0 – 9 11 1
Holland 001 000 0 – 1 4 1
Isa Zwitzer, Babette Van den Esker (3), Nathalie Van der Meer (5) and Willemijn Vissers. Shelby Dunwell (6K) and Emily Hermes.
GARDEN CITY JLSB – Josie Caye 1-4(RBI,SB,R), Destiny Manuel 1-2 (RBI,R), Morgan Holmes 1-4(SB,R), Grace Hardy 0-3. ROE – Caye. FC – Manuel. DP – Holmes.
East 13, West 1
Warwick (RI) 110 112 7 – 13 14 1
Missoula (MT) 000 010 0 – 1 4 5
Sierra Ricci, Emily Carter (7) and Dyonna Rodas. Shelby Dunwell (4K), Grace Hardy (7) and Emily Hermes.
GARDEN CITY JLSB – Josie Caye 1-3(2B) Morgan Holmes 1-3(R), Destiny Manuel 0-1, Grace Hardy 0-3, Dre Haran 1-3(2B,RBI).
Junior League Softball West Regional Tournament
July 21-27, 2017
West Regional championship
Montana 12, Utah 1
Missoula 000 (11)1 – 12 12 0
Cedar City 000 ( 1 )0 – 1 4 1
Shelby Dunwell and Emily Hermes. Japrix Weaver and Logann Laws
GARDEN CITY – Morgan Holmes 2H(6RBI), Josie Caye 2H(RBI), Destiny Manuel (RBI,BB), Grace Hardy 1H(RBI)