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Lady Hawks softball scores two big victories

Apr. 24—There is a saying in softball/baseball circles that chicks dig the long ball, a reference to fondness for home runs.

Some teams, like T Falls, rely on "small ball," the description attached to scoring runs the other way, with single base hits and aggressive base running.

The Lady Hawks were in on both forms of softball this past week, splitting a pair of home games in what is shaping up as a very competitive march to post season play.

T Falls began the week with a convincing 16-1 win over Class A Whitefish this past

Wednesday at Pirk's Place, their home field adjacent to the school.

Saturday, in a morning game, red hot Mission-Arlee-Charlo (MAC) came to town and left with a big win over the Hawks thanks to some big hits that cleared the fence around Pirk's four times en route to a 16-4 conference win by the visiting Bulldogs, a three town co-op team.

T Falls jumped on Whitefish in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed in the game after posting a 5-0 lead after one inning of play. Whitefish managed a solo run in the top of inning number two, but the home team Lady Hawks exploded for 11 runs in the bottom of the second to put the game out of reach for the Bulldogs from Whitefish.

The Hawks then held the Bulldogs scoreless in the top of the third, leaving T Falls with a 16-1 lead, which invoked high school softball's 15-run Mercy rule, ending the game at that point.

Addie Traver and Annalise Fairbank drove in three runs each to pace the Thompson Falls offense. Both players rapped out a triple each in their only trip to the plate during the rule-shortened game.

T Falls scored their 16 runs on six hits and were the benefactors of nine walks by Whitefish pitchers.

Meanwhile, Lady Hawks pitching shut down the Bulldogs, allowing them just one hit. Starting pitcher Sarah Koskela pitched two innings of no-hit ball, surrendering a single unearned run while striking out four Lady Bulldogs hitters.

The win boosted T Falls to 6-2 on the year.

Up next were the heavy hitting Bulldogs from MAC, who earlier this month knocked off softball powerhouse Manhattan at a tournament in Missoula.

MAC took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a sunny but chilly Saturday morning. Thompson Falls tied things up in their half of the first on an RBI single by Koskela.

Neither team scored in the second inning, leaving the game knotted at 1-1 heading into the top of the third. MAC pitcher Izzy Evans smacked a long home run over the centerfield fence, the first of two round-trippers by Evans on the day. The three-run dinger helped MAC build a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the third. Evans then took the mound and held the home town girls scoreless in the bottom of inning number three.

MAC played it's own version of small ball in the top of the fourth, tacking four more runs on four base hits, giving the Bulldogs a 9-1 lead.

T Falls put up a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, fueled by Gabi Haanum's RBI single and aided by some shaky MAC pitching.

Heading into the top of the sixth, Mac was up 9-4. They added two more runs to their lead in the sixth when Evans blasted her second home run of the game, this time a two-run dinger, their third of the game.

At that point, T Falls trailed 11-4 with one inning to play after Evans shut down the Lady Hawks in the bottom of the sixth. MAC then erupted for seven runs in the top of the seventh, two of them on a homer by Maia Christopher. When the dust settled from the top of the seventh, MAC held a commanding 16 run advantage.

Evans then put the Hawks down 1-2-3 in their half of the seventh to secure the win.

Evans finished the day with three hits in five trips to the plate. She drove in six runs and scored four runs for the Bulldogs.

Christopher was 4-5 at the plate with three RBIs and also four runs scored.

Fitchett led the Lady Hawks with two hits in four at bats, good for three RBIs.

T Falls has a busy week ahead of them, beginning with a road game in Troy tonight (Tuesday, April 23) against the Trojans. They return home Thursday (April 25) for a game against Bonner's Ferry, Idaho (4 pm), then host Deer Lodge and Anaconda this Saturday (April 27).

Thompson Falls Lady Hawks McKenzie Robinson eyes an incoming pitch during the Hawks game with Mission-Arlee-Charlo Saturday morning in T Falls. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)