What? It's only January and we're talking about a Montana Grizzly softball event?

Of course this isn't about home games in the immediate future. But if you're anxious for spring and a chance to cheer on a very popular University of Montana Athletics program, there's an opportunity  to get an early preview of the 2022 Griz softball team real soon.

The Montana softball program's annual "Meet the Team" dinner and fundraiser will be held on Friday, Jan. 28, at the University Center Ballroom on campus. The event, which is capped at 400 tickets, begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour and the start of raffles and silent auctions. Dinner will take place at 6:30 p.m.

The formal program will feature live auctions, introduction of the 2022 Grizzlies, a slideshow of the fall season and a preview of the upcoming spring season with fifth-year head coach Melanie Meuchel.

Ticket prices are $35 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. To reserve your tickets, you can register here. Or you can contact Coach Meuchel at 406-243-4338 or melanie.meuchel@mso.umt.edu.

Reservations must be made by Monday, January 24. This is a popular event. Many of you have connections with softball-playing kiddos who would love to go. Don't wait.

UM Women's Sports Information Director Joel Carlson tells us that Montana will play early-season tournaments in California, Texas, Hawaii and Arizona, then play 11 straight home games in March before things get really serious in April and May.

The Grizzlies, who return their primary starter at every non-pitching position except second base, open the season the second weekend of February at the Nor Cal Kickoff for the second time in four years.

Montana will open the season against San Jose State, the first of three Mountain West Conference opponents for the Grizzlies over the first two weekends. The Grizzlies also will get games against Saint Mary's, UC Davis and Santa Clara on opening weekend while playing three of five games on the home field of Sacramento State.

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