Big Sky Softball League
BIG SKY – The Big Sky Softball League hosted 14 teams this year in its 11th annual co-ed softball tournament, Aug. 25 and 26 at the Community Park.
The weekend was highlighted with some close duals, including four games going to extra innings to decide the winner. Some of the nail biter games included a nine-inning dual that pitted The First Place versus the Cabin and Black Bear, and another dual between Eye in the Sky and Country Market on Sunday morning, with Adam Farr from Country Market hitting a game tying home run in the bottom of the eighth.
More than 200 players participated in the tournament, and the stands were packed all weekend, with concession being served by the local Booster’s Club. Two new ball fields built by the Big Sky Community Corp. were a great boon to the league this year.
“Wow, what an amazing season,” said Kene Sperry, coach and player with Eye in the Sky. “So many great players have entered the league which makes the games very exciting to watch.”
As the double elimination tournament progressed, the 13th seed Big Sky Resort team surprised the crowd by advancing three rounds and capping off its best performance of the season. The Cab Lizards, always tough during tourney time, played some of its best games of the season under the leadership of pitcher J.C Knaub. The First Place also showed off some amazing skills including knocking off the no. three seed with strong bats. The tournament eventually boiled down to three of the top seeds, Hillbilly Huckers, Country Market and Black Bear batting it out.
The final game was Black Bear (no. four seed) versus Country Market (no. two seed). Black Bear rolled into the finals after a strong win versus the Huckers, taking the no. one seed out of the tournament. The crowd was eager to see the Black Bear winning streak continue, but the Country Market bats and defense proved too strong, including a rally-ending double play led by Amy Gale in the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, the Black Bear made a run but fell short 13-10, giving the Country Market its first league tournament win since 2006.
The Country Market beat the no. one, two and four seeds to secure its tournament win.
“The playoffs really had it all—tight games, great fans and Montana summer weather with hail and sun,” Sperry said. “The best performance came from the First Place Pub, after beating Big Sky Resort by 25 runs and our team, Eye in the Sky by 10, and then taking the Black Bear to nine innings. This team really showed that getting hot in the playoffs is really all that matters.”
The league is grateful to its supporters, sponsors and volunteers, who helped make the season possible, including the organizing committee: Eric Ladd, Krista Mach, Queen Jean, Dave Schwalbe and Kene Sperry. In addition, the league would like to extend a special thanks to the BSCC for providing a quality sporting venue with the new fields and Community Park.
Next year the Big Sky Softball League plans to hosting a regional tournament with the hopes of attracting team from Ennis, Bozeman and Jackson, Wyo.
More information on the league is available at bigskysoftball.com.