HHS softball team exerts strong all-around play in 11-8 victory over Laurel

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Photo by Andrew Turck

Hardin’s Kelly Feller catches a throw in practice Tuesday afternoon on the Hardin High School grounds. This year, the team’s goal is to place first in the Eastern A conference.

With 13 hits and five strikeouts, Hardin’s Lady Bulldog softball team won its first game of the season 11-8 during an away matchup on Monday with the Laurel Locomotives.

Leading from the plate on defense was Hardin team captain Demi Uffelman, who threw a six-hit complete game. She did “a good job commanding her pitches,” noted team Head Coach Sarah Passes, and kept “batters on their toes.”

From the offensive side, fellow team captain Natalie Edgar “started our lineup off strong,” Passes continued, and ran home for 3 points. In her rookie debut, freshman Mia Ralston managed to connect all three times she was at bat, gaining a triple string of runs batted in.

According to Passes, many of her players hit more than a .500 average when facing Laurel.

“We have high expectations this season and expect a strong performance from every one of our girls,” she wrote in an email on Tuesday. “We are excited to get more games in and see what this team can do.”

Thirteen varsity players are returning from the 2018 season, when Hardin took third in Eastern A divisionals and went to state for the first time in seven years. For 2019, Passes said, the Ladies won’t be the underdogs.

“The goal right now is definitely to win the Eastern A conference,” she said. “Being a state team last year and returning everybody, I definitely think we’re in the running to win.”

Edgar, a shortstop, said while her team’s timing and plate defense need work, its inter-player communication, running and batting performance are effective. The Ladies also are buoyed by their shared history, she added, noting, “I’ve been playing with these girls my whole life.”

For the Ladies’ first week of practice starting March 11, they were limited to the Hardin High School gym due to snow. By the following week, the school grounds crew made the outdoor field available.

“We have an awesome grounds crew who worked hard at clearing our field off,” Passes said. “I know other teams are still battling snowy fields.”

This Saturday, the Ladies are set to play four games in Miles City for the Eastern A softball jamboree. Hardin has a lot to show the opposition, Passes wrote, as it already is “playing at a higher level than last year.”

“We have grit, passion and a solid team chemistry,” she wrote. “You can’t ask for much more than that!”


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