Wildkats to open softball season in Polson Saturday

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Wildkat Trista Cowan makes the tag on a Belgrade runner at second base while being encouraged by shortstop Lottie Ellis last season.

The Columbia Falls softball team will open its season on the road this weekend as the Wildkats travel to Polson Saturday to face Butte Central and defending state champs Belgrade.

The Kats are coming off a 15-10 season a year ago in which they advanced to the state tournament, where they went 2-2.

The 2018 Wildkats squad will feature only two seniors, after having six seniors graduate from last year’s team, including All-State selections Peyton Kehr, KJ Schweikert and Sydney Hovde.

Head coach Dave Kehr says his team will be young, but talented. Trista Cowan returns for the Kats at shortstop, bringing a powerful bat to the lineup. She will be joined in the infield by Raychal Hoerner behind the plate, who did a lot of catching for the Kats a year ago. Kennedy Payne will roam the outfield for the Kats this season and Tori Brisco and Graceanne Sevesind will be on the infield. Ryley Kehr will add another strong bat to the lineup, but her position in the field is yet to be determined.

While snow-covered fields have made live-ball practice impossible for the Kats so far, coach Kehr says most teams are in the same boat and that he is looking forward to Saturday.

“We just want to see where we are at,” he said. “We know their pitching will be good and that it will be a good test for us.”

The Kats face Belgrade first, with JV at 11 a.m. and varsity at 1 p.m. before taking on Butte Central at 3 and 5 p.m.

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