Maidens prepare to recapture last season’s triumph
RONAN – After a first place finish at Divisionals last season, the Maidens are on a mission to regain the glory that kept them afloat straight to the State Tournament. With only three returning seniors and a pitcher who spent last season on the golf course instead of in the circle, the Maidens are going to have some work cut out for them — but for Head Coach Dakota Peterson, the excitement has just begun.
“They’re feeling pretty happy,” Peterson said.
While battling injury in the early season with starting and second string catchers, both out of commission for a few weeks, the Maidens are taking it all in stride one game at a time, using these early games as a launching pad to get back in the saddle.
“Once the season comes around we’re going to go back to being strong and be the team we were expecting to start out as,” Peterson said. “Until then we’ve got a few injuries.”
Peterson is expecting “great things” out of her three seniors, shortstop Kenzie Dulmes and outfielders Kendra Starkel and Danielle Richwine. She’s also seeing her underclassman step up to the plate with confidence.
Junior Amanda Morency proved that with a super start, going 4-6 in her first two games, including a sailing homerun.
“She already started off strong,” Peterson said about Morency. “She’s doing really well.”
In the first game of the season Tuesday, the Maidens took the field with rival neighbors Mission-Arlee-Charlo. After last season’s showdown on the Divisional diamond where the Maidens claimed the crown, both teams were “ready to rumble.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Maidens struck first in the bottom of the second, putting up a pair of runs to grab the lead; but it was a big sixth inning that helped the Maidens to walk away with the 7-3 win.
Morency played a perfect 3-3 at the plate, including a double and a crushed homerun over the left field fence. Richwine added a double with her 2-3 shot.
Pitcher Carston Rhine picked up the win from the circle, throwing seven K’s in the process.
“Mission is the team that we always want to beat, being kind of our rivals,” Peterson said. “We’re happy about the win for sure. Now that we’ve got that done, the pressure is off. We’ve got some of those first game jitters out.”
Thursday the Maidens traveled to Columbia Falls for some non-conference action in a game that Peterson described as extra practice for the girls.
Though the Maidens put up a valiant fight coming within one run in the sixth inning, they were overcome by a last minute pitching change on the Wildkats side, sending the Maidens home with the 5-4 loss.
Despite the loss, Richwine worked it out at the dish going 2-3 with a double and a couple of RBIs.
Now that the first games are out of the way and the girls are working on getting healthy, Peterson is ready to take this season by the horns and hopefully repeat last year’s victory.
“It’s looking good,” she said. “We’re kind of a younger team so that’s a lot of pressure, but they’re really working hard, very gung ho this season, that’s for sure.”
Coming up for the Maidens will be a bus ride south to challenge Loyola-Sacred Heart in Missoula on Thursday and then they will return home Friday to host Florence.
Ronan 0 2 0 1 0 4 – 7 9 2
MAC 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 – 3 6 2
Courtnee Clairmont 0-4, Jordyn Clairmont 2-4, Kenzie Dulmes 1-4, Kendra Starkel 0-4, Danielle Richwine 2-3, Amanda Morency 3-3, Marissa Mock 1-3, Carston Rhine 1-3, Kiana Brown 0-3.
2B – J. Clairmont, Dulmes, Richwine, Morency. HR – Morency.
Ronan 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 – 4 7 1
Columbia Falls 2 1 0 2 0 0 – 5 11 2
Gabriella Wirz 1-4, Jordyn Clairmont 0-2, Kenzie Dulmes 1-4, Danielle Richwine 2-3, Kendra Starkel 1-3, Amanda Morency 1-3, Carston Rhine 0-3, Marissa Mock 1-3, Kiana Brown 0-3.
2B – Wirz, Richwine. RBIs – Richwine (2).