By Bruce Sayler
Helena High’s big hits were bigger than Butte High’s and so the Bengals were 12-10 slugfest winners Tuesday at Stodden Park.
Juniors Makenna Campbell and Kendall Klemp slugged three-run homers as Helena High erased an 10-3 Butte High lead to beat the Bulldogs in the Western AA Conference high school girls’ softball game. The weather was better than most of the Butte High home games have endured this spring with temperatures in the mid-50s and a slight breeze blowing. Ran held off until some drops splattered on the diamond right after the last out.
“We hit the ball and they hit the ball,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs said after the teams had combined for 25 hits, 14 belonging to the Bengals. “We kind of died down in our hitting after the third inning and I’m not really sure what happened there. They kept chipping away and our hitting just died down.”
Helena High brought in freshman Faith Howard to relieve in the pitching circle in the second inning and got a strikeout to end the inning, holding Butte High’s outburst to seven runs in the frame. She yielded two runs to the Bulldogs in the third and then nothing else, shutting the home team out the rest of the way. She posted six strikeouts and walked just one in a standout relief performance.
Three-run innings in each the fourth, fifth and sixth frames lifted the Bengals out of their deficit.
“We hit the ball and played pretty good defense,” Stosich said. “It all starts in the circle and we’re pretty young there. We have to be better there. I expect a lot out of (junior) Rian (Ferriter) and (freshman) Ashlinn (Mullaney) and they know that. It’ll be better there. We’re just young.
“And we missed some spots to score. That happens in softball and baseball. That’s where our offense needs to pick it up a little bit.”
The Helena High win gave the Bengals a split on the season series with Butte High. Stosich, of course, would’ve liked a win, but was not downcast about how his team played.
“There were plenty of positives for us,” he said. “We hit, we played defense. They hit better than we did and got a couple of bigger hits than us.
“(Kamber) Leary hit well for us and Kodie (Hoagland) was 3-for-4. She is amazing with her speed.”
Hoagland, the senior shortstop and leadoff batter, outraced three infield hits. Leary pounded a home run and a double. Senior left fielder Joscelyn Cleveland and freshman Gracie Ferriter also connected for doubles. Mullaney collected three singles, and Rian Ferriter belted a base hit. She and Leary, a sophomore third baseman, both knocked in three runs.
Campbell plated four runs to lead the Bengals. Klemp knocked in three.
The only inning in which no runs were scored was the seventh.
Helena High, coached by Butte-rooted Ryan Schulte, grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Kylee Wetzel was hit by a pitch to start the game and Madi Lamping bunter for a single. The runners moved up a bag on a wild pitch and Wetzel then scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Ashlyn Lamping. Madi Lamping soon dashed home on a wild pitch.
Butte High got a run back in its half of the first as Hoagland beat out an infield hit, stole second base, went to third on Bryn Godbout’s flyball to left and scooted home on Rian Ferriter’s sacrifice fly to right field.
The Bulldogs erupted for seven runs in the second. Jordyn Bolton and Cleveland reached on consecutive Helena errors and courtesy runner Cami Kautzman got herself in a rundown between third and home as Brityn Stewart bounced to the left side of the infield. Kautzman’s sprints back and forth along the basepath allowed for Stewart to get to first base safely, and Kautzman dove safely back into third base to load the bases with one out.
Hoagland drew a walk to force in the tying run and keep the bags full. An out later, Rian Ferriter delivered a two-run single up the middle. Mullaney followed her with another two-run single up the middle and then Leary cranked her three-run homer over the left-field fence. Howard came on to pitch for the Bengals and got out of the inning.
Butte High led 8-2. Ashlyn Lamping basted a one-out double in the top of the third inning, took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs tallied their last two runs in the bottom of the inning. Cleveland and Gracie Ferriter conked back-to-back doubles for one run to start the half of the frame. Ferriter went to third on a wild pitch before Stewart walked. Ferriter stole home on a double steal when a second straight strikeout of the inning saw Klemp, Helena High’s catcher, throw to second base in an unsuccessful attempt at trying to keep Stewart from swiping the bag.
Butte High’s lead was 10-3, but the Bengals bounced back in the fourth with a three-run surge. Audri Aakre singled to left and Maloree English reached on Butte High’s only error of the game. Campbell then clouted her three-run homer over center field.
In the fifth, Helena High closed to within 10-9 of the Bulldogs with another three runs. Brooke Richardson blooped a single into short center field and advanced to second on a passed ball, then came home on a base hit to left by Aakre. Campbell clubbed a two-out double to left field to knock in Aakre and then Cambell scored on a single to left by Ashley Koenig.
The Bengals took the winning lead in the sixth inning with three more runs – all on a blast over the fence in right-center by Klemp. It came after the Lampings got on base via a single and walk. Klem’s round-tripper finished the scoring.
Butte High did mount a threat in the sixth when Leary crashed a two-out double to right-center and Bolton was hit by a pitch. Cleveland took Helena High center fielder Ashlyn Lamping to the fence, but the Bengal senior gloved it before it could clear the border.
Helena High went to 5-7 for the season with the win. The Bengals are 4-3 in conference games. Butte High fell to 5-8 and 5-4 and is to play again at home on Saturday in a 1:45 game with Missoula Hellgate at Stodden Park.
Helena High 201 333 0 — 12 14 3
Butte High 172 000 0 — 10 11 1
Maloree English, Faith Howard (2) and Kendall Klemp. Ashlinn Mullaney, Rian Ferriter (6) and Jordyn Bolton. W – Howard. L – R. Ferriter.
HELENA HIGH (5-7, 4-3) — Kylee Wetzel 1-4, Faith Howard 0-0, Madi Lamping 2-5, Ashlyn Lamping 1-3, Brooke Richardson 2-4, Kendall Klemp 2-4, Kylee Gardipee 0-0, Audri Aakre 2-3, Maloree English 0-4, Makenna Campbell 2-4, Ashley Koenig 2-4.
BUTTE HIGH (5-8, 5-4) — Kodie Hoagland 3-4, Bryn Godbout 0-4, Rian Ferriter 1-3, Ashlinn Mullaney 3-4, Dacelyn LaFond 0-0, Kamber Leary 2-4, Jordyn Bolton 0-3, Cami Kautzman 0-0, Joscelyn Cleveland 0-3, Taylor Drakos 0-0, Gracie Ferriter 1-4, Madisyn Swanson 0-0, Brityn Stewart 0-3.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Richardson, A. Lamping, Campbell, Cleveland, G. Ferriter, Leary. HR – Campbell, Klemp, Leary.
Runs batted in – Helena High 10 (Campbell 4, Klemp 3, A. Lamping 1, Aakre 1, Koenig 1), Butte High 9 (R. Ferriter 3, Leary 3, Hoagland 1, Mullaney 1, G. Ferriter 1).