ANACONDA - The Montana State Softball Tournament came to a close Sunday afternoon at the Charlotte Yeoman-Martin Sports Complex in Anaconda, with teams from the northwest proving they were indeed the best this weekend.
Three Missoula-based teams captured titles, with the fourth title going to a team from Kalispell. Two Anaconda teams finished as the runner-up in their respective divisions.
Club Moderne was one Anaconda club looking for a title after slugging to a pair of wins Saturday, but the team had the tables turned on it by a hot-hitting and fielding Rocky Mountain Aircraft Services team from Kalispell in the Women's D finals.
The two teams met to open the day at 9 a.m., with Rocky Mountain rolling to a 21-9 decision to reach the championship game.
The semifinal game saw Rocky Mountain score six runs in the second and eight in the fourth to build a big lead. The team then held the Anaconda team scoreless in three frames.
But Club Moderne responded in its elimination game against Eagles Ice from Missoula.
Club Moderne led 5-3 heading to the third, then erupted for 14 runs in the frame to blow it open on the way to a 22-8 win, setting up a finals rematch with Rocky Mountain.
But the rematch was like the first, with Rocky Mountain slugging and fielding, while the Club Moderne bats went silent for long stretches. The Kalispell natives captured the title with a 20-8 win in the finals.
"It's huge for us," Rocky Mountain's Aimee Root said. "We've been hitting so well and everybody's been playing solid defense, so for us to come through that way, it was a huge weekend for us."
Club Moderne jumped out to an 8-3 lead early after scoring six in the top of the second, but Rocky Mountain responded with seven runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good.
The six runs in the second were the last that Club Moderne scored, as Rocky Mountain held them scoreless over the final three at-bats.
"The defense was huge," Root said. "Those were some young girls who were super fast and great hitters, so to get those three innings was game-changing."
Rocky Mountain then tallied seven times in the fourth, before a run in the fifth ended the game due to the 12-run mercy rule.
The title is the third for Rocky Mountain, which has been together for 12 years and will move into the Women's C division next year.
"There's a lot of family and people related," Root said. "We've kept this team together for 12 years, so it's a really big deal for us to still be together and competing."
The other Anaconda team looking for a title Sunday was the Goosetown team in the Men's 50+ division.
With just three teams in the division, the title was settled with round robin play, and Sunday's 10:15 a.m. game with Paradise Falls of Missoula served as the de facto title game.
Goosetown entered with one loss, while Paradise Falls was undefeated.
Paradise Falls jumped the hometown team early, tallying six runs in the first for a 6-1 lead. That lead swelled to 13-2 before Goosetown tried to rally.
Goosetown tallied four times in the sixth, and four more in the seventh, but the comeback fell shorts, with Paradise Falls winning 13-10 to win the Men's 50+ title. Paradise Falls later downed Amigo/Bug Light of Missoula to finish 4-0 on the weekend.
Goosetown also defeated Amigo/Bug Light on Sunday to finish 2-2 for the weekend, taking home second place.
In the Women's C Division, Press Box/Bill Long Trucking of Missoula rolled past its Missoula rival, T&C Sound, in the finals by taking a 24-4 decision in five innings. It was the second state title for Press Box.
"This is pretty awesome," Nike Hibbert said. "We've been in the championship for the last five or six years, it's awesome that both Missoula teams were in the championship."
Like the Rocky Mountain team, the experience of playing together helped lead the Press Box team to this year's title.
"We've all been playing together for a long time," Hibbert said. "And the good thing about that is once one player got going, we all built on that."
The Press Box girls played at Nationals last year, taking second, but are opting to sit out this season's national tournament.
Team Geritol, also of Missoula, were the final champions of the weekend, capping off a 4-0 run to the title with an 18-6 drubbing of their Missoula rivals, Press Box in the title game.