When it comes to B-C softball, no team has a comparable track record to the Florence Falcons.
Since the Montana High School Association added the classification for the 1999 season, the Falcons have won the championship seven times. That includes two straight after a 6-2 victory over Ronan in the state final on Saturday.
The recent string of success came after five years of drought — an eternity for the Falcons considering the program’s quick success and the classification’s recent inclusion. But for the players who hoisted the first-place trophy at the Great Falls Multi-Sports Complex this weekend, only the past two seasons matter.
For first baseman Hayley Cole, the second is sweeter.
“Because the first one, it was like, ‘Oh my God, it happened,’ ” she said. “This one we actually worked our butts off and got it again.”
Maybe that’s some perspective from a senior, who toiled (too strong?) through so much for two seasons before reaching the titles. Florence went two losses and done at the 2010 state tournament and then lost by a run in 2011’s championship game to Stillwater — the Columbus, Absarokee and Park City conglomerate that owns four of the championships during Florence’s five-year dark period.
But for the seven sophomores on the Falcons’ roster this spring, gold is all they know. And there’s no comparing the two titles they’ve experienced as prep players.
Not that they’re not comparable. Sometimes it just can’t be done.
“Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in that we won last year even,” sophomore pitcher/shortstop Megan Byrne said laughing after her team’s most recent win. “So this time, I’m still speechless.”
With the departure of four seniors and a head coach — skipper Joe McKay will opt for retirement rather than attempt to match Florence’s three-peat from 2004-06 — more hardware for Florence’s crowded trophy case could be tricky in 2014. Among the challengers, they’ll likely have state-runner up Ronan to deal with after the Maidens earned second place in their first state appearance Saturday.
But if B-C softball’s brief history is any indication, you can’t count out the Falcons.