Maidens end season with a bang
WHITEFISH — During the offseason, the Ronan Maidens’ coach will probably be the first coach to lobby for a divisional tournament next year in the Northwestern A.
After watching his young team close the season winning three of four games, with all three of their victories coming against teams bound for the state tournament, including a shutout over rival Polson, Ronan coach Tom Peterson has to be wondering what could’ve happen if the Maidens’ got one more chance to play their divisional opponents.
“We were definitely getting hot toward the end of the season and that’s kind of what you want. We had a young, inexperienced team and they definitely improved and started getting hot,” Peterson said.
Coming off a no-hit performance against Anaconda in Butte, Bethany Colman limited the Lady Pirates to only three hits and didn’t allow a Polson runner to get in scoring position in a 3-0 victory in Ronan’s final home game of the season Tuesday. The Maidens’ closed out the season with a 7-4 victory in Whitefish Saturday. The only hiccup for the Maidens in the final week of the regular season was a 3-1 loss in Columbia Falls Friday – the Wildkats are the only team the Maidens’ played in the final week who aren’t advancing to the state tournament.
In a rivalry that has been so one-sided in recent years – the Maidens finally broke through at last year’s state tournament with a 1-0 extra-inning victory – Peterson is hoping that Tuesday’s victory over Polson is the kind of win that can carry over to next season.
“It’s a huge deal. It’s a pretty big deal and we just played outstanding. We hit the ball, we played good defense, we didn’t have any errors and Bethany (Colman) pitched one of her best games,” Peterson said.
Against the Lady Pirates Tuesday, Maiden leadoff hitter Lindsay Clairmont started the game with a single and came around to score on a Claire Frank sacrifice. That would be all the scoring Colman would need, but just in case, she drove in two more runs with a bloop single in the bottom of the third.
Colman struck out nine, issued one walk and allowed only three hits all singles to pick up her fifth victory of the season.
“They (the Lady Pirates) were pretty frustrated. She (Colman) did an excellent job hitting her spots and she had a lot of spin on the ball,” Peterson said.
Against the Lady Bulldogs, Maiden catcher Katie Andrews started a four-run fourth inning with a triple. Andrews and Colman came around to score on a double by Payge Delaurenti, who had the Maidens’ only hit in the 3-1 loss to Columbia Falls the day before. Middle infielders Chelsey Bourdon and Abby Luke each added a RBI in the inning.
Colman took a line drive to the ribs in the bottom of the fifth and had to leave the game with a 4-0 lead. In only her second appearance of the season, Delaurenti quickly gave up four runs in the inning, but then settled down and didn’t allow another run in the final two innings to pick up her first high school win.
“She (Delaurenti) gave up four runs real quick, but then she settled down and started throwing strikes and made them swing the bat and our defense made plays behind her,” Peterson said.
The Maidens silenced the Lady Bulldogs’ rally by stringing together four straight hits and scoring three runs in the top of the sixth for a 7-4 season-ending victory. Bourdon picked up her 20th hit of the season with a one-out single and later came around to score her last run as a Maiden on a passed ball. In her final at bat as a Maiden, second baseman Abby Luke singled and came around to score on Mackenzie Middleton’s first extra-base hit of the season. Lindsay Clairmont drove Middleton in with a double.
The Maidens finish the season with a 6-15 record and went 2-6 in conference.
“We have a lot coming back and the way Bethany was pitching toward the end of the year I don’t think anyone is looking forward to facing her again,” Peterson said.
Colman finished the season with a 3.65 ERA and struck out 177 batters in 128.1 innings. She also led the team in hitting with a .377 batting average. Andrews followed with a .362 average. Bourdon led the team with 13 RBIs.