Bronc bats bounce Maidens in season opener

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At Hamilton, the Ronan Maidens started the season well by plating a run to open the game against Hamilton. But thereafter, the homestanding Lady Broncs took advantage of their visitors who have yet to taste the outside on account of an overabundance of whites stuff contaminating their playing field. A succession of four doubles in the bottom of the fourth would plate five runs and seat Hamilton firmly in the saddle of this contest.

Maiden hurler Macao Jackson struck out nine, cleanup batter Emilie Corley reach base in all her plate appearances and the Maidens combined to smack a trio of hits for extra bases. Corley homered in the seventh. Jackson doubled in leadoff LaNissa Mahkuk to plate Ronan’s first run of the season, while Madison Miller doubled in the second.

The Maidens are scheduled for another trip to the Bitterroot this Thursday, March 28, against Stevensville, field conditions permitting.

Hamilton 9, Ronan 2

Ronan 100 000 1 – 2 10 0*

Hamilton 201 501 x – 9 14 0*

Jorden Taggart (10K,4W) and Abby Johnson. Macao Jackson (6IP: 9K,5W) and Maddy Mae Miller. W – Taggart (1-0). L – Jackson (0-1)

RONAN – LaNissa Mahkuk 1-3, Brooklyn Kenelty 0-4, Jackson 2-4, Emilie Corley 2-2, Rhiley BigBeaver 1-4, Regan Clairmont 1-3, Madison Clairmont 0-2, Miller 2-3, Ashlie Welker 1-2.

HAMILTON – Sophia Doyle 3-3, Mikayln Brickley 1-4, Abby Johnson 4-4, Maggie Ringer 1-4, Taggart 2-4, Chantele Sisson 1-2, Phoebe Howard 0-2, Maria Gutierrez 0-0, Myah Gassmann 0-1, Haley Frey 2-4, Kyla Shepherd 0-3.

HR – Corley; Taggart. 3B – Johnson. 2B – Jackson, Miller; Brickley, Doyle, Johnson, Ringer, Sisson. RBIs – Jackson, Corley; Brickley 2, Johnson 2, Taggart 2, Sisson 2. HBP – Mahkuk. BB – Corley 2, M.Clairmont, Welker; Doyle, Sisson 2, Gutierrez, Shepherd. SB – Jackson, Corley; Johnson 2, Doyle. CS – Corley, Miller. (M25Mar19)

Asterisk (*) denotes where stat variant(s) in play assessment criteria other team. This version relies on Hamilton rendition. Ronan rendition may incorporate handful of errors that will either scale back number of hits or reduce the extra bases to singles.

Mahkuk (cf), Kenelty (lf), Jackson (p), Corley (ss), BigBeaver (rf), R.Clairmont (3b), M.Clairmont (2b),Miller (c), Welker (1b).

Spring 2019 Softball Preview: NWA Ronan Maidens

The previous season of the 2018 Ronan Maidens (5-5, 10-11) could be easily summarized as a case of so close, and yet so far. Twice they knocked at the door of a postseason berth and twice came within an inning of prying the door open. Ronan had county rival Polson on the ropes in the bottom of the seventh with the go ahead run on third base. Polson managed to wriggle off the hook by turning an inning ending double play to keep the game tied, then plated the game winner in extras.

Further on toward the upper end of the latter third of the schedule, the Maidens were deadlocked at five apiece against the WildKats of Columbia Falls with both vying for the coveted third-seed, but a cascade of compounded calamities would precipitate a multi run deficit that would shift control over their own destiny for a postseason berth into the hands of others.

The Maidens graduated a quintet from their roster last season in all-state hurler Gabby Wirz (career: 11-11,121K), all-conference infielders Marissa Mock (2nd-tm) along with Katlyn Santos (hm), outfielder Courtnee Clairmont (Western BC a-c 2nd-tm 2017) and utility player Jaylyn Hakes.

The most seasoned among returnees include seniors Emilie Corley (a-c 2nd-tm) along with Rhiley BigBeaver. Juniors vying to reprise roles include Madison Clairmont and outfielders Brooklyn Kenelty along with LaNissa Mahkuk. Sophomore returnees include pitcher Macao Jackson (4-5, 38K) and infielder Maddy Mae Miller. Adding further depth to returnees is the return of Regan Clairmont, who saw significant playing time as a freshman and is now mended from an injury that sidelined her last season.

Corley cranked a pair of grand slams toward the later part of last season and received two dozen free passes to the base path, seventeen of which were by getting hit by the pitcher. Corley led the team in RBIs (21). Madison Clairmont is the leading batter among returnees with 20 hits last season and second most RBIs (19). Macao Jackson (4-5, 38K) is the second leading generator of hits (19) among returnees. Jackson holds state championship credentials, having been among the roster of the 2016 ASA 12U state champion MT Avalanche-Spry

Incoming freshmen with potential include Ashlie Welker, Haylie Webster and Lexi Wirz, but at such an early juncture in the schedule, others are certain to raise their profiles.

First year head coach Kaylee (Larson) Cheff takes over the reins of the Maiden softball program after a three year stint by Kellie (Jones) ManyHides (33-29), aided by assistant coach Justin Mock. The Maidens were Western BC Divisional champions in 2016, but making the postseason has been elusive thereafter since Ronan moved back up to the Class A ranks.

Cheff (nee Larson) was a multisport athlete for the Maidens who extended her athletic career at the collegiate level in softball for two seasons with Wenatchee Valley College.

Her coaching credentials include Havre assistant softball coach under former Florence veteran Mike “Otto” Thill in 2012, two seasons as volleyball coach at Chinook (29-12) from 2012-13 and a third at Charlo (18-6) in 2014.

Cheff said she is looking forward to the challenge and “is excited for the season.”

The scheduled season openers against Browning on Friday, March 22, and Libby on Saturday, March 23 were canceled and rescheduled for weeks further down the road when the snow has melted.

Gabby Wirz career3yr (2018, 2016-15):

229ab, 83H, 16(2B), 4(3B), 2HR, 41RBI, .362avg / W-L(11-11) 121K

Spr2018 Gabby Wirz – 66ab, 31H, 11(2B), 3(3B), 2HR, 17RBI, W6-6L, 79K

Marissa Mock career 3yr (2018-17, 2015):

181ab, 79H, 9(2B), 2(3B) 2HR, 47RBI, .436avg

Spr2018 M.Mock – 63ab, 30H, 3(2B), 1HR, 17RBI, .476avg, 15BB, 8SB

Katlyn Santos career <3yr(2018-15):

137ab, 43H, 6(2B), 2(3B), 1HR, 32RBI, .314avg.

Spr2018 K.Santos – 62ab, 25H, 4(2B), 1(3B), 1HR, 20RBI, .403avg, 4BB, 2HB, 9SB

Courtnee Clairmont career4yr (2018-15)

198ab, 58H, 9(2B), 1(3B), 37RBI, .293avg,

Spr2018 C.Clairmont – 47ab, 13H, 3(2B), 1(3B), 10RBI, .277avg

Spr2018 Emilie Corley – 47ab, 18H, 3(2B), 1(3B), 3HR, 21RBI, .383avg, 25R, 3SH, 1SF, 7BB, 17HB, 11SB, circa .613obp

Kaylee (Larson) Cheff (SB a-s, 4x a-c: 1st-tm 2009 p, 2nd-tm 2008-07 ut, hm 2006 p / VB 2x a-c: 2nd-tm 2008, hm 2007 / GBB a-c 2nd-tm 2008-07 / SB 2x NWAACC East Region all-star: 1st-tm 2011 if, 2nd-tm 2010 if)

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