GREAT FALLS -- It was the biggest hit of Abby Mehling’s life, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune time. And it lifted Glasgow to an unlikely comeback victory on Day 1 of the State B-C softball tournament.
Mehling’s two-out, three-run home run in the top of the seventh served as the winning runs in the Scotties’ 8-6 first-round victory Thursday over Ronan. Trailing by a run with two outs and nobody on, Glasgow needed some magic. And after Ronan pitcher Alaina Madsen allowed two runners to reach base, Mehling provided it.
“In that situation I was a little nervous. Knees were shaking a little bit,” said Mehling, who entered the game as a pinch hitter a couple innings prior -- and had never hit a home run in her high school career.
“She threw me a pitch right down the middle and I knew I could hit it, and I did. I felt it, and I was like, ‘Maybe the left fielder is going to get it.’ But I looked and it was over (the fence). It felt amazing.”
Pitcher Tiana Johnson then closed the door in the bottom half of the seventh, and the Scotties advanced to the second round where they’ll take on Florence on Friday.
Glasgow, the Eastern division’s No. 4 seed, might not have been expected to topple Ronan, the No. 1 seed from the West.
“It’s an awesome win for us,” Mehling said. “It boosts our confidence so much. You never want to overlook the underdogs.”
It wasn’t the day’s only perceived upset. Huntley Project, the top seed from the East, was involved in a nearly identical situation in its first-round game against Plains on Thursday -- only the roles were reversed.
Tied after seven innings, the game went extra innings, where Alex Greene hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth to lift Plains to a 5-4 victory.
Greene went 2 for 4 and drove in four runs, helping pitcher Tia Thompson garner the victory. Project’s Tessa Hultgren had 12 strikeouts in eight innings, but took the loss.
One of the day’s best pitching performances belonged to Conrad’s Tristin Achenbach, who fanned 17 in a 10-0 shutout of St. Ignatius. Achenbach allowed one hit and walked just one. Leadoff hitter Michaela DeBoo, meanwhile, blasted a pair of homers.
Plains, the No. 4 from the West, will play Conrad, the East’s No. 3, in the second round on Friday.
Stillwater, winners of four Class B-C state championships since 2007, had trouble with Florence’s Sarah Schurg, who collected two hits and drove in five runs, and also pitched five innings in their first-round matchup. The Falcons won, 12-6.
Shayna Howell hit a home run and had two RBIs for the Renegades, who will face familiar foe Huntley Project in a loser-out game Friday.