HELENA — Kalispell Glacier is on the cusp of greatness, and it’s a journey eight years in the making.
Kenadie Goudette, Morgan Vivian and Ella Farrell were not quite teenagers when the Wolfpack captured the 2015 Class AA state title.
It was a team full of girls this current Glacier team looked up to, and when they etched their names in the history books, it gave those eight-, nine- and 10-year-old future softball stars a goal.
Under the Friday night lights at Batch Fields, the Wolfpack run-ruled Helena High 10-0 in the state tournament’s undefeated final, punching their ticket to Saturday’s state championship game.
Glacier, still undefeated in the tournament, would need to be beaten twice by the winner of Helena High-Missoula Sentinel, putting the Wolfpack squarely in the driver’s seat.
“There’s no feeling – I have no way to describe it,” Goudette said of the win. “I’m happy – I’m so ready for [Saturday]. I’m already thinking about the chipper. We’re just gonna go after it.”
Glacier plays at noon on Saturday, and if needed, again at 2 p.m.
Goudette homered in the sixth inning, pushing Glacier’s lead to 7-0. She led the game off with a double, sparking a four-run frame, and starting a fire that burned in Glacier’s bats all night.
“We knew this was gonna be a tough game, so we came at it hard, and it clearly showed,” Goudette said. “It really put our foot down when I hit that [home run].”
Vivian, one of Glacier’s five seniors, piled up three RBI on Friday.
It was her two-run single that pushed Glacier’s advantage to double digits and allowed them to secure victory an inning early.
Vivian remembers the “disconnect” this team felt during a .500 season last year – the feeling that one little piece to success was missing.
She pointed to the right mentality players and coaches entered this season with, as well as the looseness a down 2022 season allowed the Wolfpack to play with in 2023, as reasons for a stellar campaign.
Junior Ella Farrell talked about the family-style camaraderie and team chemistry this team shares.
“I’ve been waiting for this year, as have we all, and it’s a really good feeling,” Vivian said. “I’m pumped up for [Saturday], for sure…
“It’s almost beautiful and it’s pretty emotional to see that we’ve come this far as a team because we’ve had a lot of struggles in the past four years…We’re more a team now than I’ve ever seen us and it’s really exciting.”
Head coach Abby (Connolly) Snipes is a 2010 graduate of Glacier High School and was quite the hitter during her playing days.
Abby’s sister, Christine Connolly, was on the 2015 state title-winning team, as well as the 2016 runner-up team.
This is the first time Glacier has appeared in the title game since that 2016 season.
With Friday’s victory, Abby is now only one game away from evening the playing field with her sister.
“That was such a great game of softball,” Snipes said. “We were fundamental, we hit home runs, we had bunts that went down, we had base runners that moved…
“We just played our game and all those pieces came together. It’s such a great team feeling.”
Farrell limited Helena High to a fourth-inning single, striking out six and walking just one on 78 pitches. She got all the run support she needed in the first, and even helped her cause with a two-hit, two-RBI game.
“I don’t know if I can say enough about Ella – she was on fire in the circle,” Snipes said. “She was totally in the zone. She was throwing better than I’ve ever called pitches for a pitcher before…
“She’s an elite softball player.”
Snipes ended the post game team meeting by telling her players that this is their year.
With one more victory, it certainly will be.
“They’ve had to beat some really tough teams to get to this point, and every other team left in the tournament, we’ve had the privilege of beating,” Snipes said.
“Not that [Saturday] is gonna be easy, because it certainly isn’t going to be an easy game, but they have all the faith in themselves and that’s the whole battle right there.”
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