Frenchtown’s Sadie Smith offers award from Missoulian/Republic Services | soft ball

121 plus 99 plus 108 plus 110 equals 438. That’s the number of pitches Frenchtown’s Sadie Smith threw in four championship games on Saturday at the State A softball tournament.

The senior threw all the pitches for the Broncs over a span of nearly nine hours on the final day of the three-day tournament in Hamilton. His Herculean effort in the circle helped Frenchtown pull off a comeback for the ages to win its first state championship since 2016 after finishing second in 2021.

The Broncs became the first team since 2011 to break through the losing bracket and force a second title game in the double-elimination tournament. They then became the first team since 2007 to force and win that second title contest.

Smith’s performance at state capped off an impressive campaign in which she was named an all-state first-team selection for the second straight season. It also tipped the odds in her favor of being chosen as the Missoulian/Republic Services Softball Player of the Year.

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“She’s so remarkable for what she does with the skills she has,” said Frenchtown coach Eli Field. “She’s not a big, powerful girl. She mixes it up and moves it around. The change is gone, she’s lost her grip on it. The inside of the arm was getting sore. The curveball was going. You had to go get up and screw. But that’s her, she’s so adaptable.

Smith limited teams to three earned runs and three walks while striking out 23 batters over 28 innings on the final day of the tournament. The Broncs won three straight games – 5-4 against Polson, 7-2 against Billings Central and 7-4 against Billings Central – to fight for the crown after losing 4-3 to Billings Central in the first game of the day .

In six games at State, Smith gave up five earned runs, struck out 33 and walked six in 40 innings. She launched the Broncs to a 5-2 second-round win over Laurel as they avenged their only regular-season loss and a 15-1 third-round win over Northeast champion A Havre.

Smith finished the season with just 23 earned runs allowed for a miniscule 1.21 ERA. Of the 132 1/3 innings she pitched, almost exactly one-third of them, 44, were 1-2-3 innings.

Additionally, she struck out 177 (55 seeking) against 13 walks, a ratio of 13.6 strikeouts per walk. She held her opponents to a .223 batting average and posted a .990 WHIP.

Smith also made an impact at home plate by hitting second in the order. She posted a .506 batting average and a .759 hitting percentage. She led the team in hits (44) and doubles (12) and ranked second in RBIs (32).

“I think I can remember all the kids who played for me,” Field said. “But you know what I’m going to remember? 450 pitches. 450 pitches against a great batting team and you’ve found a way to earn a state title for yourself and the rest of your team. Just amazing.”

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