With a losing record at this point in the season, it's easy to forget the Conrad-Choteau softball team has won the last two Class B/C state titles.
"We have a lot of improvement to do," said Cowgirls sophomore pitcher Whitney Durocher.
The answer to the Cowgirls struggles is simple:
"The biggest difference is not having Tristin in the middle of the lineup. She's a special player and pretty dominant," head coach Ty Anderson said of the reigning Montana Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Tristin Achenbach.
When the reigning Montana Gatorade Softball Player of the Year Tristin Achenbach hit in the heart of the order and controlled the game from the mound, the Cowgirls were invincible. But she's no longer a part of the program after she transferred to CMR this past summer.
"We're going to have to play more defense than we have the previous 3 years," said Anderson.
But there has been one constant for the co-op this season. After Mick Morris, who was the head man during the Cowgirls' title runs, left to coach football at Hellgate High
School, former assistant Ty Anderson took over and kept the standard for excellence the same.
"There is a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations," Durocher said. "If we work hard and do our roles we should be able to make it back to state."
In order for that to happen, the Cowgirls will need to rely on their bats.
"We have very strong hitters and people set up so when we have people on base, we have people who can hit them in," said senior catcher Kinsey Harris.
If the bats remain hot, and the team leans on its experience from previous state contests, the Cowgirls could be a tough out come tournament time.
"We know what it takes to get there," Anderson said. "We have a real shot at getting back to the state tournament and defend."