By John Heglie
Among 10 State A All-Tournament Team selectees, eight western Montana softball players have been acknowledged with all-tournament recognition.
A quartet from four-peat champion Frenchtown combined for 17 hits that included a half dozen for extra bases. The pitcher-catcher battery of Laci Willett and Brooke Yarnall combined to stifle opposing batters at the plate.
Willett fanned 20 batters supplemented by dispatching another dozen with her fielding for a meager batting average against (.186OBA). Shortstop Jordan Cole turned in some strategic fielding gems with her lock-down defensive play, scrubbing out 15 potential threats (9A,6PO) from ever reaching base. Allie Hochhalter supplied some of the most opportune hits of the tournament, better than doubling her regular season average that included a latter inning rally from behind three bag home run that vaulted her Broncs into the championship.
A trio from runner-up Butte Central combined for 16 hits that included a quintet for extra bases. Among several gems hurled by Maroon pitching ace Teresa Piazzola, two that shined with extra sheen came against host Belgrade, foisting upon the tournament hosts their first Class A losses of the season. Piazzola fanned 43 batters during the course of the tournament among an arm-numbing 406 pitches.
Catcher Corbyn Holm cranked a pair of home runs during the course of the tournament, the sharpest dagger a lead changing tater that broke a 3-3 tie to vault her team into the undefeated semifinal.
Maroon Megan Michelotti batted an astounding 7 for 8 the final day of the tournament that included a pair of perfectos at the plate.
The tournament host Panthers of Belgrade placed a pair of players among the all-tournament team who both hit better than their regular season averages, combining to supply 14 hits that included a quintet for extra bases.
Number eight batter Shaina Krone turned in some strategic hits during the course of the tournament that were instrumental in keeping her Panthers on the prowl for hardware. Collegiate bound catcher Kindall Bethke hit north of .500 (8-15) that included a trio of home runs.
Lastly, but by no means the least, the fourth place Columbia Falls WildKats round out the all-tournament team roster with their sensational shortstop Lottie Ellis, renowned for her golden glove, but who wielded one of the wickedest of wands at the state tournament as well. Ellis alone smacked an unheard of 16 hits over the course of the tournament that included a quartet for extra bases, better than doubling her regular season average against better defenses and higher caliber pitching.
2016 STATE A ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Brooke Yarnall, c/if (sr.), Frenchtown
Laci Willett, p/if (sr.), Frenchtown
Allie Hochhalter, c/ut (jr.), Frenchtown
Jordan Cole, ss (jr.), Frenchtown
Teresa Piazzola, p/ss (sr.), Butte Central
Megan Mitchelotti, if/of (so.), Butte Central
Corbyn Holm, c (jr.), Butte Central
Kindall Bethke, c (sr.), Belgrade
Shaina Krone, 3b (sr.), Belgrade
Lottie Ellis, ss (sr.), Columbia Falls
Note: Players nominate by and voted on by coaches.