Softball captures share of conference championship

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  • Trotter Jessica Thompson hits a single that also resulted in two runners making it across home plate from the play (Erin Jusseaume/ Clark Fork Valley Press)

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    Trotter Skylar Bergstrom slides safely into third. (Erin Jusseaume/ Clark Fork Valley Press)

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    Trotter Seniors Jessica Thompson (Plains) and Stacey Grey (Hot Springs) are presented on the pitchers mound to the crowd by their families at the double-header against Troy on Friday. (Erin Jusseaume/ Clark Fork Valley Press)

  • Trotter Jessica Thompson hits a single that also resulted in two runners making it across home plate from the play (Erin Jusseaume/ Clark Fork Valley Press)

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    Trotter Skylar Bergstrom slides safely into third. (Erin Jusseaume/ Clark Fork Valley Press)

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    Trotter Seniors Jessica Thompson (Plains) and Stacey Grey (Hot Springs) are presented on the pitchers mound to the crowd by their families at the double-header against Troy on Friday. (Erin Jusseaume/ Clark Fork Valley Press)

The Plains-Hot Springs girl’s softball team did everything they needed to set themselves up for postseason success.

The Trotters, ever determined to put falling two runs short of qualifying for last year’s MHSA Class B-C softball state tournament with an 11-10 Divisional loss to Loyola in 2017 behind them, have now adequately positioned themselves for the postseason.

Plains-Hot Springs captured a share of the conference championship after splitting with Mission-Arlee-Charlo.

The Trotters then went on to secure the No. 1 overall seed and they did so in dramatic fashion with a clean sweep over Troy in their doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Plains High School.

Plains-Hot Springs will enter the Divisional tournament as the No. 1 seed, and perhaps more importantly, will put them in opposite ends of the bracket from the defending Class B-C softball championship Florence team and Mission-Arlee-Charlo, according to their head coach Michelle Bangen.

“(Winning a share of the conference title) is huge,” Bangen said. “Mission will be on the side of the bracket of Florence and Florence will have to face Mission before they face us. M-A-C is good enough to cause some havoc for Florence, if not beat them. That was a huge win and it got that seed for us to go where we want to be for the Divisional.”

The Trotters’ one-two pitching combination of Jessica Thompson and Kassidy Kinzie silenced the bats of Troy in their doubleheader sweep Saturday afternoon at Plains High School.

Thompson allowed only three hits in an 11-1 victory over Troy in the first portion of the doubleheader. The Lady Trojans were unable to get a single hit in the second game with Kinzie throwing a near perfect game and a no-hitter in the Trotter’s 14-0 victory.

Stacy Gray, who was 2-of-3 with an RBI, anchored the Trotters offensively in the first game against Troy. Kassidy Kinzie was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, and Jess Thompson was 3-for-4 with four RBIs.

In the second game, Thompson was a big contributing factor to Plains-Hot Springs’ offensive production. Thompson was 2-for-2, with a home run and two RBIs in the contest. Stacy Gray was 2-of-4 with two runs. MacKenzie Elliot was 2-of-4 with two hits and two runs.

Natalee Deschamps was 2-for-2 with three runs and two RBIs, and Kenzie Angle was 2-of-3 with one RBI.

“Kass and Jess did really really well Saturday,” Bangen said. “Kass walked two people and a girl was able to get on with an error. She was throwing the ball really well. It’s good to see her get going and end the year be where we want to be.”

One of the main components to the Trotter’s success has been the defensive support they’ve been able to give their pitching staff and also their offense, Bangen said.

“We are getting some defensive support and our hitting has been really, really good,” Bangen said. “We played really well against Mission. We made a couple of changes and now we have to see what we can do in order to mix it up.”

Bangen said the Trotters securing the No. 1 seed in Divisional was a complete team effort as her team prepares to play it’s regular season finale Loyola before they begin their preparation for Divisionals.

“We were relying on everyone on our roster to get us where we are today,” Bangen said.

After securing a huge victory against M-A-C, a team that placed third at last year’s MHSA Class B-C Tournament, Bangen said her team is exhibiting a “new found” confidence as they will enter the tournament as one of the top teams.

“It puts a lot of confidence on my team and we have confidence going into Divisonals,” Bangen said. “That puts huge bullseyes on your back with other teams wanting to knock off the No.1 team because other teams in the Divisonals are after us now, too.”

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