The Butte Central softball recently completed a strong season that saw them earn a trip to the Class A state tournament, and win the Southwestern A regular season title.
Thursday, the Maroons accomplishments were recognized as Mollie Peoples and Kloie Thatcher were named to the Class A All-State softball team and head coach Kelci Thatcher was voted the Southwestern A Coach of the Year by her peers.
"It’s very humbling because there are a lot of fantastic coaches in this conference," Coach Thatcher said of the award. "Everyone in this conference does it for the right reasons and it’s a very humbling to receive this honor."
Thatcher guided the Maroons to a berth in the Class A state tournament where they won three games, and an 8-2 mark in league play to take the regular season crown.
"I wouldn’t have won this without my assistants or the kids to put me in this situation," Thatcher said. "I’m grateful to my colleagues, but we wouldn’t be here without the work and dedication of the players."
Two of those players, Mollie Peoples and Kloie Thatcher, led eight Maroons who received postseason honors by being voted to the All-State and First-Team All-Conference teams.
"Our team did very well in terms of receiving honors," Coach Thatcher said. "It goes to show you that the conference respects us and these girls.
"For us to only have 11 players and to have as many awards as we did is tremendous. This was a roller coaster of year where we faced a lot of adversity and never gave up. I’m so proud of them and that they rallied together and worked for each other."
Kloie, a freshman shortstop who brought stability to the position, often taking away hits with her athleticism, was also the catalyst in the Maroons lineup, hitting .425 from the lead-off spot and pacing Central with a team-leading 20 runs scored.
Peoples, who made the move to first base for this season and anchored the position all season long, was the Maroons' force in the middle of the lineup, batting .314 and driving in a team-best 16 runs in addition to scoring 17 runs.
"I compliment both of those two," Coach Thacher said of the duo. "They had great, consistent years and it's not typical to receive these awards as a younger player. They came in every day and worked hard, and were team playrs who were willing to do anything to make the team better. I can't think of two more deserving kids."
In addition to Peoples and Thatcher, the Maroons also had pitchers Teresa Piazzola and McKenzie Gallagher named to the All-Conference Second Team, where they were joined by outfielders Emily St. John and Shawnee Hjelt.
Catcher Corbyn Holm and Megan Michelotti round out the the Maroons postseason honors by being named to the Honorable Mention Team.
Brandi Lovaas of Dillon was also voted to the All-State team, the senior catcher was one of the top hitters in the state this past season.
Lovaas hit .486 for the year, driving in 18 runs and scoring a team-best 29 runs to lead the high-powered Beavers.
In addition to Lovaas, the Beavers had third baseman Kimee Hritsco-Murry named First Team All-Conference, while shortstop Audrey Schurg was named to the Second Team. Adrianna Pittman rounded out the Beavers postseason selections, voted Honorable Mention as an outfielder.
Anaconda, who also reached the Class A tournament, was also well represented on the the postseason teams, with three players receiving the honors.
Leading the Copperheads' selections is shortstop Kassandra Flores.
Flores was one of the most dangerous hitters in a deep Anaconda lineup, hitting .379 for the year, including eight extra base hits and driving in 22 runs. Flores was also strong in the field, boasting one of the best throwing arms in the area.
Senior Lacee Moodry was voted to the All-Conference Second team for her efforts in the outfield this past season, while sophomore catcher Hannah Schaefer, who had the RBI that sent the Copperheads to the state tournament, was voted Honorable Mention.
Other All-State selections from the Southwestern A were Taylor Goligoski and Rachael Ringer of Hamilton, and Carly Vercruyssen of Stevensville.