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Lady Loggers rally late to beat Wildkats

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | April 23, 2021 7:00 AM

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Paislee MacDonald lobs a ball from second base during the Lady Loggers April 20 game against Columbia Falls. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

Mounting a stunning late-game rally, the Lady Loggers beat the Columbia Falls Wildkats 13-12 on April 21.

“We just have this don’t give up [attitude],” said head coach Dean Thompson after Libby made up an eight-point deficit in the final two innings. “We just kept coming.”

Early in the game, Columbia Falls seemed to have established firm control over the outcome of the matchup. Wildkat batters consistently nailed balls into the outfield and quickly racked up runs.

While the Lady Loggers were able to snag three pop flies in rapid succession to prevent Columbia Falls from scoring in the second inning, the Wildkats had built a 6-0 lead by the bottom of the third.

Bethany Thomas scored Libby’s first run of the night, batting in Sidney Rusdal late in the third inning. The Wildkats fired back in the top of the fourth, securing six more runs.

Reflecting on the game, Thomas chalked Libby’s early slump up to a long day at school.

“We were just kind of out of it,” she said.

A reshuffling of positions might have also contributed to the deficit. Thompson said a few players were out for the game and some Lady Loggers had to assume new roles. Mackenzie Foss, one of Libby’s key pitchers, had to sit the game out due to an injury. Her absence left Taylor Munro on the mound for the entire game.

Munro said the long night was tough, especially during the fifth inning.

“Seven innings with one person is hard,” she said.

Later in the game, Munro said Libby’s efforts to turn the tides helped bolster her resolve.

Beginning in the bottom of the fifth inning, Libby began closing the gap. Thomas and Lyndee McElmurry each secured a run. Destinee Crawford scored on an error, bringing the score to 12-4.

At around this point in the game, Thompson said the Lady Loggers began performing better as a unit.

“It was a team effort, top to bottom,” he said. “We came through when we needed the hit, when we needed someone to get on base we did it.”

Early in the bottom of the sixth, Thomas scored a double RBI with a hit to right field. The next play, Crawford brought Thomas home. When Munro took to the plate she sent a ball screaming into the outfield just shy of the fence. The hit gave the Lady Loggers another run.

Before the Wildkats final turn at bat, Kinzee Boehmler brought Munro home, putting the Lady Loggers within three runs of Columbia Falls.

Libby’s first score in the final half-inning came when Columbia Falls’ pitcher walked Rusdal with the bases loaded. Jossalyn White made it home on a hit from Crawford.

Munro took to the mound with one out and sent a ball deep into left field. The hit brought home two runs and secured the game for Libby.

“It felt really good,” Munro said of her final hit. “I kind of knew I had to hit it at some point because we were only down by two.”

The Lady Loggers will go on to play Browning on April 23.