SOFTBALL: Glacier grand slam ends big-hitting crosstown contest

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Glacier shortstop Anna Schrade throws to first as Flathead baserunner Kaileigh Denna slides into second during the top of the fifth innin at Glacier on Thursday. (Aaric Bryan/Daily Inter Lake)

With Glacier playing well in a steady rain at home against crosstown rival Flathead, Wolfpack junior Alivia Atlee brought the thunder in the fifth inning, closing the game with a walkoff grand slam to give her team an 18-8 Western AA conference softball victory on Thursday afternoon.

The second game was called off because of rain and field conditions.

The towering shot to straight away center field was the last of four home runs the Wolfpack hit to win its first game of the season.

“We’ve struggled to find our stride a little bit,” Glacier coach Andy Fors said. “We did a lot of things this week to build confidence with our hitters. We rattled the bats, did some superstitious stuff to try to loosen them up a bit. They came out ready to play today.”

Flathead opened the game with four runs in the top of the first inning but couldn’t get out of the bottom of the inning clean, committing an error that could have helped end the inning short. Instead, Glacier reached seven straight batters with two outs, including a home run from Maddie Johnson, to take a 6-4 lead.

“We were a bad hop from getting out of the inning and they scored six,” Flathead coach Jack Foster said.

Early in the second inning, Flathead’s Kaycee Smith hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score her third RBI of the game and cut the Glacier lead to one run, but the Wolfpack answered again, this time on a grand slam from Emma Shew to take a 10-5 lead.

Flathead answered again in the fourth inning with solo home runs from Jayden Russell and Kylee Meredith, only for Johnson to hit her second homer of the game three batters into the bottom of the inning to extend Glacier’s lead back to five runs.

The Bravettes safely got back a run in the fifth inning and got out two of the first four batters in the sixth inning, but hit two batters and commited an error to score two runs for Glacier and load the bases.

Atlee then finished the game with an exclamation point.

“This is what we’ve been waiting to see and had some kids step up,” Fors said.

Atlee finished 3 for 5 at the plate, one of three Wolfpack batters to get three hits in the game.

Kylee Meredith was 2 for 3 for Flatehad with a double and a home run.

“Overall we didn’t play bad,” Foster said. “We hit the ball really well. We’ve been gradually getting better. But, they hit the heck out of the ball.”

The new field at Glacier was covered in mud and nearly unplayable after steady rain fell for the entire first game. With more rain falling and no stop in sight, the schools decided to forgo the second game of the doubleheader for safety reasons.

Glacier will play at Hellgate today and at Butte for a doubleheader on Saturday. Flathead is at Hellgate for a doubleheader on Saturday.

Flathead 410 210 — 8 8 2

Glacier 640 206 — 18 14 1

Kylee Beccari and Jayden Russell. Erin McHugh, Emma Shew (4) and Maddie Johnson.

FLATHEAD (0-8, 0-5) — Jayden Russell 3-4, Bailey Nunn 0-4, Kylee Meredith 2-3, Kaycee Smith 1-4, Riley Chouinard 1-3, Kylee Beccari 0-2, Kaileigh Denna 1-2, Maitlynn Betts 0-1, Caitlyn Morrison 0-1.

GLACIER (1-6, 1-4) — Addie Labram 2-3, Meg Hornby 0-5, Erin McHugh 1-3, Alivia Atlee 3-5, Anna Schrade 1-3, Emma Shew 3-4, Kali Gulick 3-4, Maddie Johnson 2-3, Serra Monroe 0-3.

2B—Meredith. HR—Russell, Meredith. Johnson 2, Shew, Atlee. RBIs—Russell 2, Meredith, Smith 3, Denna 2. Labram 2, Atlee 4, Schrade, Shew 4, Gulick 3, Johnson 4.

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