BC comes back falls short in finale

Butte Central snapped out of its day-long funk at the end of their final game of the annual Laverne Combo Invitational softball tournament.

It was just a little too late for the Maroons, who closed the tournament with a 1-3 record after a 5-4 loss to Belgrade at Field No. 3 at Stodden Park Saturday afternoon.

The Maroons rallied from a 5-0 hole only to leave the tying run stranded — pinch runner McKenzie Gallagher — stranded at second base.

Gallagher was running for Aleesha LaBreche, who smoked a two-strike pitch to left-center field. LaBreche’s hit followed a deep fly ball off the bat of Courtney Thomas. Gallagher took second when fellow freshman Shawnee Hjelt poked her third hit of the game.

BC, though, saw the rally end when Hannah Stajcar was called on strikes on a pitch the senior felt was inside enough to jump away from.

The comeback attempt took a little of the sting out of the loss that puts the Maroons at 7-9 on the season. At 4-2 in Southwestern A play, the Maroons are likely heading to the Class A State tournament. They can secure that next week when they head to Anaconda and host Stevensville.

The Panthers, a former Central A rival of the Maroons, scored two in the first inning to take the lead for good.

Taylor Johnson singled in Rylee Cygan and Kristina West. Johnson doubled in Marina Layman and Cygan in the fifth inning.

Johnson scored on a single by Taylor Hill.

The Maroons started to show some life in the fourth inning when Hjelt, who batted leadoff, singled to break up West’s perfect-game bid.

Taylor Marthaller drew a one-out walk in the fifth. She scored on a single by LaBreche.

Hjelt, who filled in for concussed third baseman Katie Hogart over the weekend, led off the sixth with a double. Stajcar followed with a perfect bunt for a single.

Hjelt scored on a double by Danika Neumann, who had another solid game at short stop. Stajcar and Neumann scored on wild pitches.

West got out of the inning with a strikeout — she had 10 on the game — and the Panthers coaches unsuccessfully argued the game should be called by the 1 hour, 20 minute time limit.

Teresa Piazzola, who struck out eight, worked around a Johnson single to keep the Maroons within one heading into the bottom of the seventh.

That’s where the comeback ended.

Belgrade                     200  030  0 — 5  8  0
Butte Central             000  013  0 — 4  7  0

Kristina West and Taylor Hill; Angela Piazzola and Shannon McLaughlin. W — West. L — Piazzola.
BELGRADE — Rylee Cygan 0-1, Hanna Goulet 0-3, West 0-3, Taylor Johnson 3-4, Hill 2-4, Ali Alstrom 1-4, Joey Severson 0-3, Autumn Rollins 1-3, Marina Layman 1-3.
BUTTE CENTRAL (7-9) — Shawnee Hjelt 3-4, Hannah Stajcar 1-3, McLaughlin 0-3, Piazzola 0-3, Danika Neumann 1-3, Taylor Marthaller 0-2, Courtney Thomas 0-3, Aleesha LaBreche 2-3, Mikayla Boggs 0-3.
2B — Johnson; Hjelt. RBIs — Johnson 4, Hill; LaBreche, McLaughlin.