By Bill Foley
Butte Central broke out the bats in a big way for Game 3 of the LaVerne Combo Invitational softball tournament Saturday at Stodden Park.
Unfortunately for the Maroons, so did the Locomotives.
Laurel scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning, and the Locomotives beat Butte Central by about 61 feet in a 10-9 nonconference thriller.
The game was called in the fifth by the tournament time limit.
It ended when BC star Kloie Thatcher was gunned down at third base by a perfect relay from the fence.
In all, the teams combined for 27 hits in five innings. The Maroons, who stroked 15 of those hits, scored in all five innings. Laurel scored in four of the five.
After two quick outs to start the game, Laurel scored three runs with four straight two-out hits in the top of the first inning.
Shortstop Riley Chapman started it with a double down the third-base line. Pitcher Ellie Kildahl followed with a single, designated hitter Katie Dawes doubled, and first baseman Madison Zumbrennan singled.
Central wasted no time evening things up. Thatcher ripped a double to the fence to lead off the bottom of the first. It was the first of four hits for the BC senior.
Thatcher scored when classmate Kassidy Criscuolo smoked a single down the first-base line. Emma Keeley followed with a double, and she came home on a groundout by Zoe Doherty.
The Maroons took a 5-3 lead in the second. McKenzie Norton led off the inning with a perfect bunt for a base hit. Thatcher followed with a single that got by the Laurel left fielder. Norton scored on the play, and Thatcher took third.
Thatcher came home when Criscuolo hit a deep sacrifice fly to right.
Laurel took advantage of two costly BC errors in the third, but BC took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the frame.
BC third baseman Madison Kump singled and scored on a groundout by Gracie Wall.
The Locomotives tied the game again in the fourth following a leadoff double by No. 9 hitter Madison Cooney. She scored Deyshia Goodwin single.
The Maroons took an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the forth when Thatcher and Criscuolo both singled and scored. Thatcher crossed on an error, while Criscuolo came home on a single by Keeley.
In the top of the fifth, Dawes singled, Zumbrennan hit a hard liner that Keeley caught at short, and Brooke Anderson singled. Dawes and Anderson came home when Cooney came through with a game-tying single to left.
The game wasn’t tied for long.
Taryn Wommack blasted an opposite-field two-run home run to right. Kump snagged a hard liner by Goodwin to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Still, the Maroons didn’t go quietly.
Norton poked a two-out hit to right to keep the game alive. Thatcher followed with a single to center. The outfielder booted the ball, which went to the fence.
Norton scored on the play, and Thatcher tried for third. A perfect to throw Cooney, though, was just in time to end the game.
Kump, like Thatcher, was perfect at the plate. She went 3 for 3. Criscuolo, Kelley and Norton each poked two hits, while Cassidy Strizic and Makayla Doherty each hit one.
Chapman, Dawes, Zumbrennan and Cooney had two hits for the Locomotives. Kildahl pitched the distance for the win.
Thatcher struck out five in the loss.
The Maroons, who fell to 8-10, look to salvage at least one win in the Compo when they play Glendive at 2:15 p.m. at Stodden Park.
Laurel 302 14 — 10 12 3
Butte Central 321 21 — 9 15 2
Ellie Kildahl and Mazie Hill; Kloie Thatcher and Cassidy Strizic. W — Kildahl. L — Thatcher (4-9).
LAUREL — Taryn Wommack 1-4, Dayshia Goodwin 1-4, Riley Chapman 2-3, Kildahl 1-2, Saige Weimer 0-0, Katie Dawes 2-3, Madison Zumbrennan 2-3, Brooke Anderson 1-3, Zoe Thomae 0-3, Madison Cooney 2-3.
BUTTE CENTRAL (8-10) — Thatcher 4-4, Kassidy Criscuolo 2-2, Emma Keeley 2-3, Zoe Doherty 0-2, Madison Kump 3-3, Strizic 1-2, Makala Doherty 1-3, Gracie Wall 0-3, McKenzie Norton 2-3, Katelyn McKinnon 0-0.
HR — Wommack. 2B — Chapman 2, Cooney; Thatcher, Keeley. RBIs — Wommack 2, Zumbrennan 2, Cooney 2, Dawes; Criscuolo 2, Keeley 2, Z. Doherty, Wall.