MISSOULA, Mont. - Hellgate returns the majority of last year's team; they only lost a couple of impact players to graduation.
The biggest difference this year is that Hellgate is the only Missoula team with a brand new coaching staff, led by head coach Lisa Macki who was an assistant at Sentinel a season ago.
Last year the Knights faced an abrupt coaching change in the middle of the season. The returning girls say they never really had any structure or direction last year.
"Kind of a mess last year," said senior McKaylen Albert of last season's coaching. "We didn't really know who we were listening to and kind of a big change in the middle of the season hurt us a little bit but I think we'll be able to go further than we did last year."
Despite those issues the team still managed to make it to state and despite losing both games at state they were only outscored by a total of four runs in those losses.
"Oh we're pretty excited we just want to carry on what we had last year," said junior catcher Allie Allen. "We kind of were rocky in the middle and the beginning and now we're just ready to keep going what we had at state where we had a lot of momentum."
The squad says they are excited to build off of last year's success and happy with the new coaching leadership.
"The girls have been beyond amazing," said first year head coach Lisa Macki. "They have been eager to learn. They have really embraced what me and the other coaches are trying to offer them and our philosophies and how we want the team to look."
Hellgate kicks off the season this Friday at the Jamboree tournament in Great Falls.