Renegades 3rd at divisional
Lightning and rain that turned to marble-sized hail forced the cancelation of the final two games at the Eastern B/C Divisional Tournament in Columbus on May 21.
It was during the fourth inning of the third-place game, with the Stillwater Renegades falling behind the Glasgow Scotties 6-1, when ominous black clouds moved in from the Beartooth Range. A Glasgow fan read off the miles to approaching lightning strikes from a smartphone app.
The undefeated Conrad Cowboys awaited the winner of the Renegade-Scotty game, which was canceled. As a result, Conrad took first place, Glasgow took second because it came into the tournament at a higher seed than Stillwater, the Renegades took third, and Huntley Project took fourth.
All four teams will go on to the Class B/C State Tournament in Kalispell on Thursday through Saturday, May 26-28. The Renegades punched their ticket to state on May 20 after defeating the Great Falls Central Mustangs 11-0 and the Huntley Project Red Devils 7-2.
Hailee Gregerson struck out 13 Mustang batters in the opening game. She also went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a home run late in the game and two RBIs. Shelby McMillen was perfect at bat, going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Maddi Carman knocked in two RBIs. The Renegades benefited from numerous Mustang errors.
The Huntley game started tough for Stillwater, with the Red Devils up 2-0 going into the fifth inning. Then, with two outs, pinch hitter Haley Harper made it to first, followed by hits from Mykaila Berry and Maisey Sheppard. Pinch runner Alexa Riveland scored, and Kasidy Robbins made it to first on a walk, filling the bases.
That brought up Gregerson and her second home run for the day – a grand slam that put Stillwater in front 5-2. McMillen hit a home run in the next inning, driving in one RBI. McMillen also had a double in the game, and Gregerson struck out 10 Huntley batters.
The matchup against Conrad was expected to be fast and low scoring – a battle of pitchers, Renegade coach John Smith said at the start of the Saturday game. Cowboy pitcher Tristan Achenbach brought with her a reputation for hurling 24-inch rising fastballs.
The last time the two teams met, at Worden in April, the Cowboys defeated Stillwater 3-0 in a game that saw only four Renegade hits and Achenbach striking out 16 Renegades.
This time around, Achenbach struck out 17 with no walks and drove in the game’s only run, as Conrad defeated Stillwater 1-0. Gregerson struck out 10 and went 2-for-3 at the plate. Sheppard had the Renegades’ only other hit in the loss. The Cowboys had four hits and one unearned run.
The Renegades open up the state tourney in Kalispell with a game against the Anaconda Copperheads on Thursday, May 26, at 4 p.m.