2024 State Softball Tournament Preview

The MHSA softball tournaments to crown the 2024 champions began Thursday

By Micah Drew and 406mtsports.com
Kalispell Glacier junior Ella Farrell pitches against Helena High on May 8. | Gary Marshall, BMGphotos.com & 406mtsports.com


The Flathead Valley is sending two defending champion teams to the state softball tournaments, both rolling into championship season with red-hot winning streaks.

State AA Softball Tournament
May 23-25

Last spring the Glacier Wolfpack brought home their first state championship since 2015, defeating Helena High 19-7 in the third matchup between the two teams during the tournament. Future College of Southern Idaho player senior Ella Farrell, last year’s Gatorade Montana Softball Player of the Year, has returned to the mound one last season to lead her team’s effort to defend their title.

Glacier will be drawing on last year’s championship experience as well as the strength of its veteran players — six players for the Wolfpack are college bound to play softball. In addition to Farrell, seniors Kenedie Goudette (Columbia Basin College), Emma Cooke (Spokane Falls Community College), Zoey Allen (College of Idaho) and Balla Hodous (Spokane Falls) will all take their game to the next level next year. Junior Cazz Rankosky has already committed to MSU Billings as well.

The Wolfpack enters the tournament with a 17-3 record, and has defeated every Class AA opponent this season enroute to earning the top seed for Western AA. The three losses for the Wolfpack this year have been to Class A Polson, a 5-1 loss to Big Sky and a 9-6 loss to Helena Capital, the latter two which were subsequently avenged.

Big Sky went on to earn the second seed out of Western AA, with Capital earning the third. Across the divide Belgrade, the Eastern AA second seed, will hope to leverage a home field advantage during the tournament. Billings West claimed the Eastern AA crown.

Due to snow in the Bozeman area, the first rounds of the Class AA tournament have been moved to Helena to begin on Friday, with plans to conclude Monday in Belgrade.

Who’s back: Belgrade (16-6), Billings Senior (11-6-1), Billings West (15-3), Great Falls CMR (9-11), Helena (9-11), Helena Capital (16-4), Kalispell Flathead (7-14), Kalispell Glacier (17-3), Missoula Big Sky (18-2-1), Missoula Sentinel (8-12)

Who’s new: Billings Skyview (7-11), Bozeman Gallatin (11-7)

The Columbia Falls softball team poses for photos with its Class A state championship banner and trophy on Saturday at Bozeman Gallatin. | Victor Flores, 406mtsports.com

State A Softball Tournament
May 23-25
Stewart Park, Billings

The Columbia Falls Wildkats brought home the first state championship in program history last spring with an 8-2 win over Billings Central in a state final that was beset by several thunderstorm delays. Despite losing four seniors from last year’s roster, the Kats stormed through the 2024 season to earn the top seed from the west.

Columbia Falls has won 17 straight games heading into the state tournament. Senior pitcher, and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College signee, Maddie Moultray has a 1.40 ERA over her last six outings with a combined 58 strikeouts. She’ll be aided around the bases by Haden Peters, who is a .514 hitter in the month of May.

The Wildkats is on a potential collision course with Billings Central in the rerun of last year’s final. The Rams are undefeated this year and have a chip on their shoulder after consecutive runner-up showings at state.

Keep an eye on Polson, the second seed out of the west. The Pirates tuned up for the state tournament by defeating defending Class AA champion Glacier 8-5 in early May. Senior Mckenna Hanson, headed to Corban University next year, has connected for six home runs in her last 14 hits. Teammate Carli Maley, also college bound at Black Hills State, drove in 11 runs this month.

Who’s back: Columbia Falls (21-3), Billings Central (22-0), Polson (18-6), Laurel (20-6), Frenchtown (17-7), Havre (18-7), Lewistown (16-10), Hamilton (15-9)

Who’s new: Dillon (14-9), Glendive (7-17), Ronan (18-7), Lockwood (first tournament appearance)