Softball play-ins pushed back to Friday

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The Kalispell Class AA softball teams get a chance to extend their season today as the Western AA playoffs get underway.

Eventually.

Both teams are facing uphill battles, each playing on the road against teams they’ve lost to twice this season. But, they could turn those fortunes around with a few swings of the bat.

That is once they’re able to get started. Both series have been moved from today to Friday because of wet weather expected in Missoula and Helena.

Glacier (4-8 Western AA, 7-13 overall), which secured the fifth seed in the West with a win over Flathead last week, will travel to fourth-seeded Missoula Big Sky (6-5-1, 9-12-1) for its best-of-three series beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday.

The Wolfpack lost to Big Sky 5-4 at home and 9-7 on the road this season and will need to close the gap to get back to a fifth straight tournament.

“They do a good job with their pitcher (Kaylee Rosenbaum),” Glacier coach Andy Fors said. “She’s pretty solid. We’ve struggled at times to hit her. We need to make sure we’re aggressive in the batters box and making sure that we’re staying disciplined.

“Throughout the batting lineup they have some great hitters. We need to make sure we’re only giving up three outs an inning and not having errors that give them more opportunities.”

Glacier has been rolling late in the season, winning four of its last five games. It will look to carry some of that momentum into a tough matchup with the Eagles.

“These last two weeks have been great for our hitters’ confidence and for our pitchers,” Fors said. “It’s nice to see the bats get rolling a bit. We’re in a good position to go into those playoff games. The girls are feeling good. I like our chances.”

Flathead (0-12, 2-17) could make its first state tournament since 2007 with an upset of second-seeded Helena High (10-2, 11-9) in a three-game series on Friday in the Capital City.

The Bravettes played Helena close in two games this season, losing 7-0 at home and 4-1 on the road.

“They have a solid pitcher and they don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Bravettes coach Jack Foster said. “If we can stay off her rise ball we’ve got a chance.”

Flathead has improved at the end of the season, winning a game against Polson and leading Glacier in the seventh inning before a late barrage of home runs sunk the Bravettes chances at a conference win.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t make any mistakes,” Foster said. “Our big bugaboo all year has been one inning. We’ll have one inning where things go bad, we’ll make mistakes someplace and give up four or five runs in an inning. That gets us in a hole. We’ve just got to avoid that from happening.

“We’ve been playing better. We’ve had a chance to win games. We’re battling and working hard. That’s all we can do. We keep doing that, we’ll have a shot.”

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