Bison take a pair from Bulldogs at Stodden

Butte High third baseman Isabelle Bonney fields a hard shot off the bat of a Great Falls High Bison Thursday at Stodden Park. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler

Home hasn’t been so sweet for the Butte High girls’ softball team this year.

The Bulldogs dropped two more contests Thursday at Stodden Park where they fell 13-8 and 11-0 to Great Falls High in an Eastern AA Conference doubleheader.
The second game ended in the fifth inning on the 10-run difference rule.

Butte High is 0-4 at home this year while seeing its records dip Thursday to 3-8 for the season and 2-4 in Eastern AA Conference play.

“I think the sun will come up tomorrow,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs, said solemnly after his team suffered the sweep. “I guess we’ll see.”

Great Falls High played well in raising its records to 6-4 overall, 4-2 in conference. Butte High didn’t, Stosich was adamant.

“I don’t think we did anything good today — hitting, pitching or on defense,” he said. “We hit a little bit in the first game — out-hit them — but when you make nine, ten errors, … We couldn’t stop the bleeding. Errors are contagious. Youi have to make routine plays.”

The book had the Bulldogs with eight errors in their first-game loss, offsetting a 12-hit attack that included six doubles.

“They’re a good team,” Stosich said, not wanting to downplay the Bison’s efforts.

However, the young, developing Bulldogs were reminded to stay focused, suffering the loss after winning against league rival Bozeman on Tuesday. The win followed a road sweep against Billings Skyview that came a day after Butte HIgh won both ends of a twin bill against usual power Billings West, in Billings.

“We expressed to them we have to keep working and that as a team, we have potential,” the coach said. “We can’t be up on the mountain for some of our games and then down in the valley for others. The games against Billings West and Bozeman showed we can play defense.”

The Bulldogs will play a non-conference doubleheader at defending state Class AA champion Kalispell Glacier on Saturday.

Great Falls High 13, Butte High 8
Great Falls High erupted for eight runs in the fifth inning and break a 5-all tie on the way to the win. Butte High hurt itself by giving up two walks and committing two errors in the inning, but the Bison powered the uprising with two home runs that plated five runs. McKenzie Staats slugged a two-run shot over the left-field fence with nobody out, and Cayley Bushong bashed a three-run, two-out blast. The other runs scored in the inning were on two passed balls and an error.

Marihelen Held started the day for Great Falls by getting hit by a Kaidy McClafferty pitch. Held later scored on an error. Butte High answered with a run in its half of the first on doubles by Kenndi Ferriter and Taylor Huff to the left-center and right-center gaps, respectively.

The Bison put up two runs in the second inning on a run-scoring single by Erin Hocker and on an error. The Bulldogs responded with three runs to take a 4-3 edge. Brianna Ossello walked and Katelyn Alley singled with nobody out.Jenna Maroney delivered an RBI single to left field. Two outs later, Jenna Walker knocked in two runs with a base hit to center.

The teams matched each other a run in the fourth. Tanaya Krenik reached on an infield, took second on Bushong’s bunt and third on a throwing error. She scored on a fielder’s choice hit into by Staats.

The Butte High reply was Alley doubling home Taylor Huff, who had reached on an error.

Great Falls caught the Bulldogs in the fourth when Molly Schmitz walked, took second on a Hocker bunt, and came around to score on a throwing error after Held whacked a base hit.
Hocker, the pitcher, set the Bulldogs down in order in the bottom of the fourth, setting up the Bison’s big inning.

Butte High took one run back, to trail 13-6, in the fifth when Isabelle Bonney worked a walk, and scored on an Alley groundout after Ossello clubbed a ground-rule double to left field. The Bulldogs scored their last two runs in the seventh inning. Alley bounced a ground-rule double over the fence in right-center field. One out later, she rode home on a double by MacKensie Daily. Brittney Tierney then singled in Daily before Hocker retired the last Butte High batter on strikes.

Hocker struck out six batters and walked five in the Bison win. McClafferty was saddled with the loss. She struck out eight and walked five.

Great Falls High       121      180      0 13  10  2
Butte High                 131      010      2
—   8  12  8
Erin Hocker and McKenzie Staats. Kaidy McClafferty and Brittney Tierney. W — Hocker. L — McClafferty (3-5).
GREAT FALLS HIGH — Marihelen Held 2-3, Jasmine Hill 0-3, Tanaya Krenik 1-5, Cayley Bushong 3-5, McKenzie Staats 1-4, Sarah Conway 1-4, Madlynn Ray 0-4, Molly Schmitz 1-1, Erin Hocker 1-3.
BUTTE HIGH — Brittney Tierney 2-4, Jenna Walker 1-5, Kenndi Ferriter 1-4, Taylor Huff 2-4, Isabelle Bonney 0-2, Brianna Ossello 1-3, Katelyn Alley 3-4, Jenna Maroney 1-2, MacKensie Daily 1-4.
Extra-base hits — 2B — Bushong, Ferriter, Huff, Alley 2, Ossello, Daily. HR — Staats, Bushong.
Runs batted in — Great Falls 7 (Bushong 3, Staats 3, Hocker 1), Butte 8 (Walker 2, Alley 2, Tierney 1, Huff 1, Maroney 1, Daily 1).

Great Falls 11, Butte High 0
Freshman pinch-hitter Madlynn Ray ended the game with a two-out three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Great Falls High was the home team for the second game of the league twin bill and entered the last of the fifth in command of an 8-0 advantage.

Vanessa Root hit a two-out single up the middle and Marihelen Held ricocheted a base hit off the reaching glove of pitcher Kaidy McClafferty, sending the rip also into center field. Ray was summoned from the dugout and walloped the home run over the left-field fence.

Great Falls High banged out a dozen hits to support the two-hit pitching of Molly Schmitz. Butte High’s only hits were singles by Kenndi Ferriter and Jenna Maroney.

Held walked and scored on a throw to second after a sacrifice bunt and another walk for the Bison’s first run. They then broke the game open with five runs in the second. The only error of the game was committed with Great Falls batting in the inning, but the Bison also scored on run-scoring singles by Erin Hocker and Tanaya Krenek, a sacrifice fly by Vanessa Root and a wild pitch.

The Bison then led 6-0 and added two runs in the third when Hocker stroked a two-run single up the middle after Sarah Conway singled and Schmitz pounded a ground-rule double with one out.
Schmitz struck out five batters and walked none in pitching the win. The hard-working McClafferty was tagged again with the loss. She struck out five and walked three.

Butte High                 000      00x      x   0    2  1
Great Falls High       152      03x      x
11  12  0
Molly Schmitz and McKenzie Staats. Kaidy McClafferty and Brittney Tierney. W — Schmitz. L — McClafferty (3-6).
BUTTE HIGH (3-8, 2-4) — Brittney Tierney 0-2, Jenna Walker 0-2, Kenndi Ferriter 1-2, Taylor Huff 0-2, Isabelle Bonney 0-2, Brianna Ossello 0-2, Katelyn Alley 0-2, Jenna Maroney 1-1, MacKensie Daily 0-2.
GREAT FALLS HIGH (6-4, 4-2) — Marihelen Held 3-3, Jasmine Hill 0-2, Madlynn Ray 1-1, Tanaya Krenik 2-2, Cayley Bushong 0-3, McKenzie Staats 1-3, Sarah Conway 1-2, Molly Schmitz 1-2, Erin Hocker 2-3, Vanessa Root 1-2.
Extra-base hits — 2B — Held, Schmitz. HR — Ray.
Runs batted in — Butte 0, Great Falls 9 (Hocker 3, Ray 3, Held 1, Krenik 1, Root 1).

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