MISSOULA, Mont. - One of the biggest and most competitive softball tournaments of the year wrapped up over the weekend with the Frenchtown Invitational. Not only were there 17 varsity teams competing over the two day tournament, but nine of the squads were teams that qualified for state last season.
Yet despite all that solid competition, the hometown Lady Broncs' perfect 3-0 performance stood high above the rest when the dust had settled.
"Probably couldn't have gone any better," said head coach Eli Field. "I mean obviously you win all your games so that's a good accomplishment."
"The Invitational went great," said senior third baseman Keegan Wickman. "It was great to see people from different classes and different sides of the state. I feel like we did pretty well."
"We just are playing so well as a team and our batting has stepped up so much," explained junior Morgan Ray. "And it's just great to see this team working so hard and we're just a great family; it's awesome."
Morgan Ray, the defending Gatorade Player of the Year, pitched all three games for the Lady Broncs as they shut out their opponents by a score of 26-0 over the weekend. Ray threw 18 innings in the circle for the Lady Broncs, allowing only one hit while striking out 39 batters. The Broncs are a perfect 7-0 on the season and out of those seven wins, Morgan Ray has thrown four no-hitters and two one-hitters.
"It's remarkable right now," said Field. "It's something that I've not experienced before, but she's getting better. She probably pitched better this weekend than I think she has all year."
"It's great of course," Ray admitted, humbly. "I'm trying to work really hard and do what I can. I'm just taking it one batter at a time and I'm not thinking about no-hitters. I'm just going for it and I'm doing what I can."
"I've played with teams across the Pacific Northwest and nothing compares to her quite yet," said Wickman of Ray's talents.
Frenchtown's performance early on in this softball season has been nothing less than dominant. Besides being undefeated, the Broncs have outscored their opponents 97-6 so far. That being said, this team knows they need to continue to work hard in order to repeat last year's title.
"We haven't met any of our goals yet," said Field. "We haven't qualified for state; we haven't earned a good seed at the state tournament."
"We need to keep moving forward," added Wickman. "We're not at the state championship level yet just because it's so early in the season.'
"I'm really proud of our team and we've been doing so great," said Ray. "The season is not over and we're taking it every game at a time and we just want to get to that state tournament and hopefully a state championship again."
Frenchtown's next game will be a conference contest in the road in Polson on Thursday, May 1st in a rematch of last year's Class ‘A' state championship game. The Lady Broncs defeated the Pirates 17-5 when the two power house programs met earlier this month.