Montana Avalanche Fast Pitch Are Ready to Take State
If you look at the Montana Avalanche fast pitch team, it's pretty clear they have some of the best high school players in the state.
"So we have girls from all over, mostly the Missoula area, we have four core girls from Missoula, the rest are from all over, mostly western Montana, and one girl from Miles City, which is a far drive, but we're glad to have her," says Avalanche outfielder Bailey Deyle.
With a roster full of players from Missoula, Deer Lodge, Polson, Anaconda, Miles City, Ronan, Frenchtown, Plains and Helena…it can make scheduling a little difficult, but doable.
"We practiced all winter long, would bring the team in on Sundays, and a lot of that is team bonding, and getting to learn to play together," says Avalanche Manager Todd White.
"It's so nice, because there are girls from everywhere, and you get to meet good people from all over, and you make a ton of of friends, and people who are the best in the area, and everyone makes each other better, and we all excel hopefully," adds Avalanche pitcher Morgan Ray.
While Avalanche players all enjoy high school ball, they say traveling in the summer with the Avalanche has it's own added benefits.
"We all want to be here, we all want to win, we all get along, it's a totally different dynamic and I think it adds to the game," says Deyle.
"It's great because we all share a common love which is softball. I've got a few teammates I've played against forever, and a few teammates I've looked up to forever, so it's great to come together," adds Avalanche Catcher and future Griz Dani Walker.
With players from across the state, who only saw each other one night a week during the winter, you might think it'd be difficult for them to get team chemistry, but that's not necessarily the case.
"Even at a couple tournaments where college coaches are watching, every single one of them has mentioned that we have great team chemistry, we get along, and joke around, which helps us play better," says Ray.
The team has been successful on the year, already qualifying for the ASA Nationals, and the USA Preps Winter Nationals, and while they're usually in contention at whatever tournament they go to out of state, they do want to bring home the Montana state title, which they could accomplish this weekend.
"We almost always place, and we have state next weekend, so we're hoping to win that. I've never won state, so this is my last chance," laughs Walker. "But we always compete, and even if we don't win it all, there is always something good we came out of the weekend with."