2019 Softball Season in Review

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alabamagrizzly
Posts: 3571
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:05 pm
Location: body in Alabama, heart in Montana

2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by alabamagrizzly » Fri May 17, 2019 8:13 am

A new chapter has been opened in the book of Grizzly Softball. Last years team graduated 11 seniors, four of which were 4 year starters and a fifth was a 3 year starter. That’s a lot of experience going out and inexperience coming in. With six freshmen and a sophomore brought in, you’d expect a bumpy road for a year or two. It may have had a ruff start, but as the season progressed, you could see great improvements by these girls. Enough improvement in fact to set a team win record for home games at 16-3. The biggest surprise was that it wasn’t the Fr hitters that struggled. It was mostly on our veteran pitching staff. There was a massive spike in errors also, which is very uncharacteristic of a Griz softball team but could still be expected with all the inexperience that this team fielded. As the girls get the speed of the game down though, those inflated error numbers will come down.

One major contrast, which also showed the resilience of this young team, was our scoring in the first three innings vs the last three innings. During the first 3 innings of the first 25 games before our first home stand, we were out scored 83 to 27. During the last 31 games, where we showed great improvements, we out scored our opponents 84 to 76 in innings 1 through 3. In contrast, we were far better late in the game. In the first 25 games we were only out scored 38 to 50 in innings 5 through 7. During the last 31 games though we out scored our opponents an amazing 67 to 31 including 33 to 8 in the 6th inning. This shows that this team, despite their youth, has no give up. They’ll keep clawing and fighting for a win. A big result of that is the 5 walk off wins we’ve had this year.

Record improvement/decline
For the most part, our record stayed about the same as last year going from 25-30 in ‘18 to 25-31 this year. Our con record raised some from 10-11 to 10-8, playing 3 less games due to UND leaving the con. Considering though how Sr laden last years team was compared to how green this team was, I’d say we exceeded expectations, especially considering we were picked 5th in the preseason poll and ended up 3rd. These young girls fought in almost every game though with 7 of our losses coming in the last inning and 5 of those in the last at bat. Despite our youth though, this team did set a new home record going 16-3, better then any previous Griz teams record at our stadium.

Another stat I like to break down is how we fared against certain levels of quality in the RPI rankings. Out of 297 teams in division 1 softball, we finished #216 after the regular season was over. Of the nine teams we played that finished in the top #100, we went 0-14 against. Looking closer though, in 7 of those games we either had the tying run at 2nd in the last inning or gave up the lead in the bottom of the 6th including both games against #47 San Jose St, the third highest ranked team on our schedule. All of these games came in the first half of the season when we were still learning on our 25 game road trip. I believe the team that finished the season would have won some of those games. Now where I really think we need to excel is against the teams between our ranking and #100. That’s nine teams we played from rankings #100 to #216 and our record was 9-12 against them. That’s including a 3 game sweep of #109 Nevada, our signature win on the year. That also includes 0-7 vs Weber and Sac St. Our next best win was vs #178 Cal Poly. I definitely believe this will improve next year though. The area we should dominate the most is against everyone behind us from #217 to #297. Here we were 12-5. One of those five losses was against a non-con team we had already beaten previously and two others were vs non-con teams that we later avenged. The two other losses were against #217 Utah Valley after we had already beat them twice in our first home stand of the year and a 1-0 loss to UNC in the con tourney . We were also 4-0 against our usual non D-1 opposition from Montana.

Team improvement/decline
Offense, Offense, Offense! This year was a flipped script from previous years. Pitching and fielding were very uncharacteristically down but batting jumped way back up. The girls set team records in homers and extra base hits breaking our ‘16 totals. They also posted the 2nd best team average and slugging percentage, just behind the ‘16 totals and their run total was the 3rd highest ever. All categories were massive improvements over last year though, except stolen bases, which was our lowest total ever. When you set a team HR record though, you don’t need to steal as many bases when you can jog. Fielding wise, as what should have been expected with an entirely new infield replacing 3 four year starters, errors jumped way up and the fielding percentage fell. After leading the league 3 years in a row, we finished 5th this year. Definitely something to work towards in the future. One stat that is a knock on the pitching but maybe should really be attributed to the fielding also is hits allowed. In ‘18 our pitchers gave up 372 hits. This year they gave up almost 100 more at 464. One reason is Michaela Hood’s dominance has vanished. Another is though with pitchers like Colleen Driscoll and Maddy Stensby who let the batters put the ball in play and rely on the D to get the outs. Last year Driscoll pitched 104 innings and gave up 104 hits. This year she pitched 111 innings and gave up 150 hits. That’s nearly an extra half hit per inning. Considering it’s the same pitcher with the same control(17 walks last year and 14 this year), you have to think that maybe this infield doesn’t have the range that the previous infield had. Hopefully this is something that will improve as this very young infield matures. For instance our Sr laden infield of last year allowed 431 hits as Jr’s and 501 hits as So’s. So there is hope. Now back to the pitching. ERA skyrocketed from 3.08 to 4.15 and the whip jumped from 1.265 to 1.588. Despite the rise in ERA, we still finished 3rd in the con and was right behind WSU at 2nd by 0.04 runs. We also finished 6th out 7 in hits allowed. One positive spin on this is despite giving up hits left and right, we were still able to minimize the damage. On the negative side though, we should not be giving up so many hits, plain and simple. Next year our returning pitchers will be cut in half due to graduation so what the future holds is anybody’s guess but to continue success, this will have to be addressed.

Ranked competition
Normally I go into a lot of depth on the games vs ranked teams but I’m going to start to slim this down until we actually win one. We’ve been very close in years past but lately it’s been more of a let down to not win one of these games since other BSC teams are able to win some of theirs. This year Sac St took down #24 ranked Stanford and Weber St also beat them while they were unranked. We lost to Stanford twice this year. Our only game against a ranked opponent this year was #23 Northwestern who we lost to 4-0. We were mostly controlled by NW’s pitching, only getting two base runners to 2nd base. Our pitching for the most part was good too between Driscoll and Stensby. They scattered 10 hits but only allowed 2 earned runs all game.

Position improvement/decline
1B Cami Sellers-As good as Ashlyn Lyons was last year, Sellers has been even better, atleast offensively anyway. Ashlyn’s ‘18 numbers of .341 BA, 12 doubles, 7 HR’s and 32 RBI were matched by Cami’s .374 BA, 21 doubles, 9 HR’s and 41 RBI. During con play she was even more dominant hitting a league leading .484. Compare that to Cami’s ‘18 numbers of .218 BA, 5 HR’s, and 22 RBI when she started every game at 1B as a Fr for Boston College, you could say the position has shown improvement at the plate. Defensively may not have been as good as Lyons was but few BSC 1B have been. Her 3 errors and .991f% last year was pretty dominant. Cami committed 7 errors for a .981f% which was still decent for the So. Not to mention the fact that Cami set a team record 18 game hitting streak and tied Delene Colburn’s conference record with 21 doubles in a season.
2B Lexi Knauss-The So came into this season with hopes of replacing 4 year starter Gabi Martinez. Like most on here, she definitely put up better offensive numbers then last years representatives but defensively was a step back. Lexi replaced Gabi’s .250 BA and 0 extra base hits with a .284 BA, way ahead of her own .077 BA from last year, and 18 extra base hits including finishing 2nd on the team with 55 hits and tying a team record of 5 triples while starting every game this season. Gabi’s 5 errors and .972f% were missed though compared to Lexi’s .940f% and 13 errors. Continued improvement will benefit here though.
3B Kylie Becker-Much like Jessica McAlister last year, Becker took a little time to catch up to the speed of college softball, but once she did, she has shown signs of a future 1st team all con selection, taking home honorable mention as a Fr. McAlister finished last year batting .256 but hit a at a .287 clip the final 29 games. Throughout the year she knocked in 17 RBI and committed 3 errors for a .958f%. Becker did the same hitting .152 in 79 at bats over the first 37 games but she flipped a switch vs Portland St batting .339 the last 19 games while hitting .232 on the year. With 21 runs and 17 RBI, she’s shown production potential while minimizing strike outs with only 21. Her fielding was just a step below with 8 errors and a .939f% which was expected with fielding probably being her strong point coming in to college.
SS Maygen McGrath-We all knew this day would come where Delene Colburn had to be replaced. Obviously you can’t expect to replace the con record holder in RBI and doubles, 2nd all time in hits and homers, and 3rd all time in runs but all things considered, I’d say SS is in good hands for the next three years. McGrath was one of two players to start every game this year. Her .298 average was below Colburn’s ‘18 average of .363 but the Fr had 20 extra base hits, 2 more then Delene, and 6 homers, 3 under Delene’s 9. Her 17 errors and .899f% were off the mark of Colburn’s 10 errors and .954f% but was very comparable to Colburn’s Fr numbers of 18 errors and a .908f%. Of course Colburn also hit .383 that year and slugged .727. Still, I think this infield is set to excel the next 2-3 years with a lot of young talent.
LF Brooklyn Weisgram/Anne Marie Petrino-Petrino started the first 40+ games in left after holding LF all year last year and most of the year in ‘17 as a Fr. Unfortunately her average has dropped from .245 as a Fr to .221 as a So last year to .160 this year. It was only a matter of time before Coach Meuchel had to make the move with both Fr Brooklyn Weisgram and Katie Pippel excelling hitting around or above .300 and getting extra base hits. While both were seeing starts there at the end of the year, I believe Weisgram will be the front runner coming into next spring. Petrino has been a better fielder committing 3 errors for a .949f% while Weisgram committed 8 errors for a pretty poor .846f% while most of those occurred in RF.
CF Kylie Hayton-Hayton moves into the CF slot after 4 year starter MaKenna McGill exhausted her eligibility as one of the best defensive outfielders in the cons history. A lifetime .304 hitter, her average had dipped to .264 last year after returning from a major knee injury. She still scored 31 runs and stole six bases also but her lifetime .988f% and 3 errors in her career are what set her apart. Hayton’s BA this year was a respectable .274 with a team leading 8 stolen bases though and her 2 errors and .966f% are decent numbers still. One of four returning Sr’s next year, she will be expected to raise her level some.
RF Katie Pippel-Pippel arrived as a late addition to the recruiting class but didn’t take long to lock in her spot on the field. Starting over half the teams games in RF, she’s 2nd on the team hitting .337 with 12 extra base hits and 22 RBI with 17 runs. She’s putting out offensive production that we haven’t seen in RF since Sydney Stites. All while only committing one error for a .974f%. Last year Hayton and Alex Wardlow shared RF while combining to hit .174 with 57 k’s. They did score 29 runs between the two of them but also committed 5 errors, 4 from Wardlow.
C Jessica McAlister-McAlister could probably excel at most every position on the field much like she did last year at 3B. Catcher has always been her passion though and she definitely elevated her game as a So this year, along with improving on the already, very good play of Madison Saacke from last year at the catcher position. Offensively she raised her own BA from .256 last year, one point behind Saacke’s .257 BA, to .320 this year. Her 8 extra base hits and 24 runs were also improvements from Saacke and her own numbers from last year also while collecting 20 RBI, one off Saccke’s ‘18 total of 21. She also improved on her own fielding percentage from last year raising it from .958 at 3B to .974 at catcher, just below Saacke’s .979f%. She did throw attempted base stealers out at a higher rate though from Saacke’s 20% to 25% this year. Arguably she’s the best defensive catcher in the league.
DP Maddy Stensby/Morgan Johnson-Stensby and Johnson combined to be our most productive DH’s since Saacke hit .355 back in ‘16. This slot has been a revolving door for sub-.200 hitters since then but this year Stensby/Johnson combined to hit .294 with 34 runs and 33 RBI and 19 extra base hits including 8 HR’s, with Stensby doing a lot of the damage while also pitching. I was extremely happy for Morgan Johnson busting out of a two and half year college slump. Since joining the Grizzlies, the Missoula native had hit .124 and 0 HR’s in her first 89 at bats over her first 2.5+ years. The last 17 games of this year she flipped a switch hitting .375 and crushing 6 HR’s in 40 at bats. I’d say it’s safe to say she’ll have thd DH locked up next year.
P Driscoll/Hood/Stensby/Achenbach-Big things were expected from this foursome and I’d say it’s safe to say that expectations were not met, at least at first glance. All four girls ERA’s were elevated including Hood’s who jumped from 2.81 to an outrageous 5.48. There is definitely something wrong since her injury last year and now the question is will she ever get back that dominance for her Sr year that she had her Fr and So year. All of her stats are a major indication that something is seriously wrong. She pitched in about 25% less innings then last year yet her walks increased from about .3/in to almost .6/in. Her k’s dropped from around .8/in to .5/in. I’m not sure what’s going on with her but hopefully her and the coaches do and they can find a way to make something work her Sr year. Sr Colleen Driscoll was the most consistent pitcher we had despite also putting up lesser numbers. Her team leading ERA raised almost a whole run from 2.62 last year to 3.59. Hits went up and k’s went down. The one thing that improved was her usual control walking only a league leading 0.13 batters per inning. Fellow Sr Maddy Stensby was atleast named 1st Team all con as a Pitcher/Utility player although it was more for her “utility” roll. Her and Tristan Achenbach were our 2A and 2B pitchers. Although both pitchers did show slight decreases in production, for the most part they matched what they did last year. The difference was for Achenbach that she seen more innings then last year. Both had ERA’s in the high 3’s, just above where they were last year. Achenbach continued her k rate striking out nearly a batter per inning. Stensby did raise her k rate from about 0.7/in to 0.8/in. After you look deeper into the numbers, Hood’s massive drop off is what makes this seasons pitching staff seem like a let down when in reality, the other 3 girls mostly held their own, despite giving up a ton of hits. Next year Achenbach and Hood will be the 1-2 combo though with one incoming Fr pitcher who is actually a better batter then pitcher. It’ll be interesting to see how they maintain.

Newcomers Performance
Cami Sellers 1B-Wow, just wow! The conference Newcomer of the Year award winner arguably could have deserved league MVP honors. She certainly earned 1st Team All Con which she didn’t win. She was the engine that drove the softball vehicle putting up numbers a Sr would be proud of. As a So, she led the league in hits and doubles(a con record) and was third in batting average, RBI, and homers. The family friend of Madison Saacke was by far the biggest key to the surprise success we had this year and will certainly be a key to our success for the next couple years.
Kylie Becker 3B-We all new Kylie would be special coming in. I originally had her pegged as the starting SS but that’s mostly due to the info on Maygen McGrath out of high school was very limited. Coach knew what she was doing though when she pegged Becker as the 3B of the future for the Griz. Although she was known as a high average hitter, her fielding from her baseball background is what separates her defensively. That’s how she earned honorable mention con selection while batting in the .230’s(she hit .306 in conference play). Her glove and arm are extremely valuable and will be a gift to us for years to come.
Maygen McGrath SS-For having to try and fill the biggest cleats on the field, McGrath definitely held her own. The lanky SS who is attempting to replace the greatest player in Griz(very short) history definitely had a good Fr year and should be able to improve on her foundation. Showing potential for a higher average and power, she might not become the next Delene Colburn but instead be the first Maygen McGrath. Either way, with 2 So and 3 Fr playing very well and locked into the infield, we will be in very good hands the next 2-3 years.
Brooklyn Weisgram LF/RF-The newest Missoula product to join the Griz, due to attrition, she started playing in RF right away but took a little while to warm up but once she did, she definitely showed that she belonged, just not in RF maybe. Partly due to Katie Pippel’s sudden emergence and LFer Petrino’s continued struggles at the plate, Weisgram eventually took over LF the last three weeks of the regular season. Next year Petrino will be a Sr so Coach may want to play her more plus Weisgram still has a ways to go defensively but she’s definitely coming around and will have a solid Griz career.
Katie Pippel RF-Katie Pippel was a late addition due to a couple commits not making it to spring for whatever reason. Once she was given her chance in right though, she made the most of it finishing 2nd in the team in batting average. I really think down the road she’s going to be bringing more power too. She is a true diamond in the ruff.
MaKenna Tjaden C-Tjaden ended up earning the back up catcher role this spring. Offensively she still has a long way to go but defensively she was certainly serviceable. She has great versatility though in the field and can really play anywhere if needed.
Reily Williams C-In my season preview I had tabbed Williams as a possible starter at catcher due to her high school credentials if McAlister stayed at 3B. I guess I was way off. I’m guessing that coach sees something in Tjaden that she likes better then Williams. I know offensively Williams is way ahead of Tjaden but she must be a step behind her defensively. I was surprised by this but I’m sure coach knows better then me. Either way, I’m sure she’s gonna get atleast some at bats as a DP next year.

Conference Recap
Here is a list of the Big Sky teams in order of regular season standings, their con tourney finish, their national ranking, our record against them(home, away, neutral), and total points scored.
Weber St(1st)-#118, 3-0(3-0a) 3-12
Idaho St(6th)-#187, 1-2(1-2h) 7-12
Montana(4th)-#216
Sacramento St(3rd)-#162, 0-4(0-4a) 12-31
Portland St(5th)-#207, 4-0(3-0h,1-0n) 38-17
Northern Colorado(2nd)-#241, 3-1(3-0h, 0-1n) 14-9
Southern Utah(na)-#288, 3-0(3-0a) 31-17

Stat Recap
Here's a Stat breakdown of each player by position and a link to the 2018 stats.
https://stats.gogriz.com/custompages/sp ... amstat.htm
Infield
1B Cami Sellers So 55gs/55g 2nd Team
.374ba/.424obp/.642slg 70h 35r 41rbi 21doubles 9hr .981f%
2B Lexi Knauss So 56/56g
.284/.336/.423 55h 26r 22rbi 11doubles 5triples 52k 15bb .940f%
3B/DH Kylie Becker Fr 46/50g Honorable Mention
.232/.278/.310 33h 21r 17rbi .939f%
SS Maygen McGrath Fr 56/56g
.298/.383/.509 48h 32r 26rbi 12doubles 6hr .899f%
Outfield
LF/RF Brooklyn Weisgram Fr 46/54g
.293/.393/.431 36h 27r 17rbi 6doubles 3hr .846f%
CF Kylie Hayton Jr 44/50g
.274/.353/.340 29h 14r 11rbi 8sb .966f%
RF Katie Pippel Fr 33/38g
.337/.412/.528 30h 17r 22rbi 9doubles 14k .974f%
LF Anne Marie Petrino Jr 45/49g
.160/.239/.179 17h 13r 13k .949f%
Catcher
C/3B/DH Jessica McAlister So 51/52g Honorable Mention
.320/.387/.401 47h 24r 20rbi 6doubles 2hr 15k .974f%
C MaKenna Tjaden Fr 15/27g
.135/.224/.231 7h 2doubles 1hr .990f%
PH/DH/C Reily Williams Fr 8/30g
.279/.340/.349 12h 7rbi
Designated Player
DH/P Maddy Stensby Sr 37/50g 1st Team
.303/.398/.440 33h 21r 18rbi 7doubles 2hr 16bb
DH/1B/C Morgan Johnson Jr 17/36g
.279/.364/.603 19h 13r 15rbi 6hr

Pitcher
Colleen Driscoll Sr 23gs/29g Honorable Mention
10-10 3.59era 111.0ip 3cg 1sho 150h 59k 14bb
Maddy Stensby Sr 8/26g 1st Team
6-7 3.99 86.0ip 2cg 101h 73k 32bb
Tristin Achenbach So 13/23g
7-7 3.96 97.1ip 4cg 103h 86k 36bb
Michaela Hood Jr 12/23g
2-7 5.48 75.1ip 4cg 110h 56k 41bb

Looking Forward
My favorite section, there’s always next year! Well, for most everyone. We are saying farewell to Sr’s Colleen Driscoll and Maddy Stensby. Colleen who came in as a late addition to her recruiting class and only recorded 30+ innings her Fr year, eventually would essentially become our most valuable pitcher the last two years. Stensby was a steady pitcher who recorded the programs first no-hitter and later would get to help win games with her bat. Both will be missed but in the nature of all college athletics, it’s next man, or woman up. Next year I’m assuming Achenbach will become our #1 pitcher unless Hood can find some way to return herself to the dominant ace that she was her Fr and So year. Incoming Fr Ashley Ward from Coronado High in Henderson Nv will bring a third arm to the rotation but she seems to be a better batter then a pitcher, and that’s not a knock on her pitching. A .531 BA and an .831 slugging percentage are pretty decent numbers for a pitcher with a 2.24 ERA. She is the undoubted leader of the #220 nationally ranked team in the country and is about to play in the state championship game. The infield is set for the next 2-3 years with two So and three Fr returning next year. A pair of utility fielding Fr will join us next year. Jaxie Klucewich from Eagle High in Eagle Id and Kendall Curtis from Glacier Peak High in Snohomish Wa will add needed depth to the infield although all the catchers can atleast play either corner and Tjaden and Becker both have MI experience. Klucewich Is a high average hitter with great speed but zero power. Her Eagle High team is currently the #420 ranked team in the country. She is also Griz family(I’m sure you recognize the last name).Four quality outfielders return with three proven bats and future Fr Julie Phelps from John W. North High out of Riverside Ca adds more depth and a chance to learn the college game for when she takes over after Petrino and Hayton graduate after next year. She’s a .400+ hitter with limited power but good speed with outfield and infield experience. Catcher is also young and stacked with Morgan Johnson the only member of the four that will be a Sr next year. The one thing we need to improve for next year offensively is to reduce the amount of strike outs. At 266 this year and only 7 away from last in the con, improving our plate efficiency will greatly improve our run support. Defensively, get the leather out. If this team can shore up its pitching which is the one big question mark in my eyes, then these girls will definitely be contending for a championship. As young as they are, offensively they’re that good. A new era has began for the Griz softball team. Go Griz!
"In Bill's(Wild Bill Kelly) tragic death there might be some message for the college society that basks in the glory of the football team and the individual heroes, but overlooks the fact that they are like the rest of us with conflicts, fears, frustrations, and weakness."-Joseph Cochran, friend of Kelly's

HookedonGriz
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Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by HookedonGriz » Fri May 17, 2019 9:44 am

Wowza that is one impressive deep dive into Griz softball. Nice work here and you’re right there is plenty to be excited about in this young team. Only thing you left out...all the coaching gaffes :)

alabamagrizzly
Posts: 3571
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:05 pm
Location: body in Alabama, heart in Montana

Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by alabamagrizzly » Fri May 17, 2019 5:08 pm

HookedonGriz wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:44 am
Wowza that is one impressive deep dive into Griz softball. Nice work here and you’re right there is plenty to be excited about in this young team. Only thing you left out...all the coaching gaffes :)
:D To be fair, I did get on her in my review last year.
"In Bill's(Wild Bill Kelly) tragic death there might be some message for the college society that basks in the glory of the football team and the individual heroes, but overlooks the fact that they are like the rest of us with conflicts, fears, frustrations, and weakness."-Joseph Cochran, friend of Kelly's

grizzlyjournal
Posts: 2013
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:54 pm
Location: Missoula

Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by grizzlyjournal » Sat May 18, 2019 10:18 am

Awesome post-season review of Montana softball, AlabamaGrizzly! Thanks a ton for this. Your review -- in brief to me -- profiles a very young team that outperformed expectations in nearly all aspects of the game... except pitching. I agree with you (which statistics back up) that 1b Cami Sellers and C Jessica McAlister were arguably the best players (when combining offensive and defensive stats) at their positions in the Big Sky. By my observations, 3b Kylie Becker and lf Katie Pippel were possibly the two who had the most mid-to-late season impact on the team with their steady improvement. Becker's defense was stellar over the final three weeks and her hitting was also on a steady upswing. Pippel went from having to go through a two-week pre-season walk on tryout for the Griz, to frosh sub (who then hit a homer in her first at bat), to starter... all while having to learn a position she'd never played in high school (she was a pitcher and infielder). McKenna Tjaden is a bit of an underrated talent, I believe. She's a fundamentally outstanding receiver with an exceptional knack for catching foul tips. It was McKenna behind the plate when Tristin Achenbach tossed her school record (for strikeouts) game... at least 5 of which were on foul-tip Ks. At one of the last home games of the season, I overheard a couple of fans mentioning that the incoming recruits from Washington and Idaho are having outstanding senior seasons and may well push current players for playing time.

So, a question, Alabama: What are your thoughts on the player or players that could be added (as transfers or jc transfers) to fill areas of need? I picked up on some of your leads regarding Nevada pitcher, Ashley Ward, and see that her team is playing (as I write this) for the chance to advance to the Nevada State 4A championship title game(s). If they win, they'll have a re-match with the team that bumped them by 1 run in the semis. You mentioned that Ward might be a better hitter than pitcher, but her pitching stats seem quite good (25-5 and a 2.31 era). She's ranked 10th in Nevada prep softball in season era so far. However, when only those pitchers with more than 100 innings pitched are ranked, Ward (with 125 innings) moves up to 3rd in the state. I know it's hard to predict how top h. s. pitchers will fare in D1 competition.

Anyway... again... Thanks for your review. Go Griz.

grizzlyjournal
Posts: 2013
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:54 pm
Location: Missoula

Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by grizzlyjournal » Sat May 18, 2019 10:23 pm

So, Montana Griz softball recruit, Nevada Coronado H. S. pitcher Ashley Ward, was just named the "Pitcher of the Year" in the Nevada 4A Desert League and this week led her Coronado team to a second-place finish in the Nevada 4A state tourney. Looking forward to seeing how Ward will fit in with her Montana Griz SB teammates next fall.

https://nevadapreps.com/sports/softball ... um=twitter

alabamagrizzly
Posts: 3571
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:05 pm
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Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by alabamagrizzly » Mon May 20, 2019 10:21 am

grizzlyjournal wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 10:18 am
Awesome post-season review of Montana softball, AlabamaGrizzly! Thanks a ton for this. Your review -- in brief to me -- profiles a very young team that outperformed expectations in nearly all aspects of the game... except pitching. I agree with you (which statistics back up) that 1b Cami Sellers and C Jessica McAlister were arguably the best players (when combining offensive and defensive stats) at their positions in the Big Sky. By my observations, 3b Kylie Becker and lf Katie Pippel were possibly the two who had the most mid-to-late season impact on the team with their steady improvement. Becker's defense was stellar over the final three weeks and her hitting was also on a steady upswing. Pippel went from having to go through a two-week pre-season walk on tryout for the Griz, to frosh sub (who then hit a homer in her first at bat), to starter... all while having to learn a position she'd never played in high school (she was a pitcher and infielder). McKenna Tjaden is a bit of an underrated talent, I believe. She's a fundamentally outstanding receiver with an exceptional knack for catching foul tips. It was McKenna behind the plate when Tristin Achenbach tossed her school record (for strikeouts) game... at least 5 of which were on foul-tip Ks. At one of the last home games of the season, I overheard a couple of fans mentioning that the incoming recruits from Washington and Idaho are having outstanding senior seasons and may well push current players for playing time.

So, a question, Alabama: What are your thoughts on the player or players that could be added (as transfers or jc transfers) to fill areas of need? I picked up on some of your leads regarding Nevada pitcher, Ashley Ward, and see that her team is playing (as I write this) for the chance to advance to the Nevada State 4A championship title game(s). If they win, they'll have a re-match with the team that bumped them by 1 run in the semis. You mentioned that Ward might be a better hitter than pitcher, but her pitching stats seem quite good (25-5 and a 2.31 era). She's ranked 10th in Nevada prep softball in season era so far. However, when only those pitchers with more than 100 innings pitched are ranked, Ward (with 125 innings) moves up to 3rd in the state. I know it's hard to predict how top h. s. pitchers will fare in D1 competition.

Anyway... again... Thanks for your review. Go Griz.
Definitely agreed that Becker and Pipple’s emergence helped propel this team for their late season push.

As for the incoming Fr pushing this years starters for playing time, Ward I’d think would be the one most likely to do so but that’s more on Michaela Hood’s struggles then Ward’s ability. When I commented that Ward was a better hitter, it wasn’t a knock on her pitching although her numbers don’t quite reflect the dominance that Achenbach and Hood had out of high school. She has by far the best bat on the team and maybe the league. As a Jr she was the Sunrise Player of the year for her offensive numbers(her Sr teammate won the pitcher of the year award last year). She has 500+ career plate appearances and hit at a .502 rate with a .778 slugging percentage. Most of that damage is from doubles while only hitting 10 career homers. She also has a 2.46 career ERA while striking out 406 batters in 338.1 innings so she’s no slouch either way. I really would like to see coach use her bat though if she can pick up the college game quickly.

MI Jaxie Klucewich from Eagle Id is name some Griz fans may recognize. She’s very fast but zero power. A .476 BA in 235 career plate appearances with 45 stolen bases. Her fielding percentage is an .853 though which may be a little questionable playing primarily SS.

Fellow MI Kendall Curtis of Snohomish Wa may be a little better but her stats aren’t reported to MaxPreps so I don’t know how she did this year. Last year as a Jr she was reported as hitting .542 and coach says she has some power. She did play for the same club team that Colburn and Lyons played for so I’m assuming that says something about her quality of play.

OFer Julie Phelps who plays for a poor Riverside Ca high school is a slap hitter with a .402 career BA in 276 plate appearances. She does have some power hitting four homers this year but she’s got speed also stealing 23 career bases. She’s a leader in the outfield though with good range and arm strength. As a Sr her f% is an amazing .985 while committing only 1 error and racking up 14 assists from the outfield.

Even if none of these girls push to start, the competition they add will make our team better and deeper for next year and years after.

The only way I see a transfer coming in is somebody who will add a proven bat that could replace a starter right away or a proven Sr pitcher maybe for depth. I really don’t see coach bringing in a transfer though. I think she likes this team where they’re at. If anything, I’d see her adding another Fr late like Pipple last year. For next years roster, we currently sit at 4 Sr’s, 4 Jr’s, 6 So’s, and 4 Fr. I know ideally Coach would like to get her roster to 5, 5, 5, and 5 but I imagine she’ll take talent wherever or whenever she can find it.
"In Bill's(Wild Bill Kelly) tragic death there might be some message for the college society that basks in the glory of the football team and the individual heroes, but overlooks the fact that they are like the rest of us with conflicts, fears, frustrations, and weakness."-Joseph Cochran, friend of Kelly's

grizzlyjournal
Posts: 2013
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:54 pm
Location: Missoula

Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by grizzlyjournal » Sat May 25, 2019 1:57 pm

A brief update: Montana Griz SB recruit, Jaxie Klucewich's Eagle, Idaho team just finished second in the Idaho State 5A state tourney the hard way... battling through the loser's bracket into the championship round, only to lose in the first game. Earlier, Klucewich was named to the Idaho 5A First team as an infielder. Couldn't find any info on Idaho all-state/all-tourney teams.

alabamagrizzly
Posts: 3571
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:05 pm
Location: body in Alabama, heart in Montana

Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by alabamagrizzly » Sun May 26, 2019 10:37 am

grizzlyjournal wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 1:57 pm
A brief update: Montana Griz SB recruit, Jaxie Klucewich's Eagle, Idaho team just finished second in the Idaho State 5A state tourney the hard way... battling through the loser's bracket into the championship round, only to lose in the first game. Earlier, Klucewich was named to the Idaho 5A First team as an infielder. Couldn't find any info on Idaho all-state/all-tourney teams.
That’s back to back 2nd place finishes for Eagle after winning 4 straight state championships. Jaxie was only there for the two 2nd place finishes though as their starting SS.
"In Bill's(Wild Bill Kelly) tragic death there might be some message for the college society that basks in the glory of the football team and the individual heroes, but overlooks the fact that they are like the rest of us with conflicts, fears, frustrations, and weakness."-Joseph Cochran, friend of Kelly's

grizzlyjournal
Posts: 2013
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:54 pm
Location: Missoula

Re: 2019 Softball Season in Review

Post by grizzlyjournal » Sun May 26, 2019 2:18 pm

Another update on a Griz softball recruit... this one on Kendall Curtis, who plays 2b on the Glacier Peak (just south of Everett, WA) team in what I've heard is the toughest 4A league in Washington State, the Wesco League. The Glacier Peak Grizzlies (Hmmm... a Grizzly transitioning to play college ball with the UM Griz) finished out of the award circle, but still as one of the top six teams in the state. They were eliminated 3-2 in loser out consolation round play by Richland H. S. in the state tourney. The top two Wesco teams (Glacier Peak was 3rd) played in the title game.

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