Blue Devils tally nine in third while topping Maroons

By Bruce Sayler

Photo by Butte Sports. 

Butte Central softball grew a little bit from Friday to Saturday, and it showed.
The Maroons lost 16-3 to Corvallis at Stodden Park, but looked more relaxed and head coach Chunky Thatcher said, too, that he thought “We’re getting better. We played better today.”
The Southwestern A Conference game last five innings, shortened by the 10-run rule and BC again had five eighth-graders and two freshmen in the starting lineup. The team’s first four batters were eighth-graders, including pitcher Braelynn Schelin.
“She’s coming along and we’ll get her ready for divisionals,” Thatcher said. “I like having (sophomore Arika Stajcar) at catcher. We need that stronger arm back there.”
The coach embraces the versatility accompanying the team youth.
“We’re moving players around a little bit,” he said. “My goal at divisionals will be to get all 12 girls in to play.”
The Maroons were trying to bounce back from Friday’s 18-1 home loss to Hamilton on the same diamond. They were also thanking seniors Kathryn Lalicker and Cloe Stillwagon for their careers at the Senior Day celebration prior to the game.
Butte Central never had a lead Saturday but did put together a spirited rally for three runs in the fourth to extend the game an inning. The coach notices and appreciates the little things, small improvements and displays patience while insisting that coaching this youth-laden squad “is the most fun I’ve ever had coaching.”
“We’re young and we’re small,” he said. “Our bat speed isn’t there yet in some cases because we’re just not (physically) strong enough yet to have it. We’re getting there. It’ll take a little time.
“I wouldn’t trade any of them for Aaron Judge and you can quote me on that.”
Duly done.
Senior shortstop Emma Cashell led off the game for Corvallis with a double and got to third base on an ensuing groundout. She scored as senior center fielder Jadyn Greenwood lifted a sacrifice fly to center. An error and sophomore right fielder Libby Jessop’s base hit to right tallied another for a 2-0 Blue Devils lead.
A two-out infield hit by junior catcher Lacey Jessop on a swinging bunt led to Corvallis’ third run. She stole second base and came home on a single into right-center by sophomore first baseman Ava Loran.
The Blue Devils exploded for nine runs and a 12-0 advantage in the third. They sent 13 batters to the plate, collected seven hits. Butte Central suffered three errors in the inning. Greenwood lined a two-run homer over the fence in straightaway center field, and junior pitcher Caitlin Nelson nailed a two-run single as the biggest belts of the uprising. Junior third baseman Sophie Cooper, Cashell and Libby Jessop stoked run-scoring singles.
Three Jessops played in the game out of four on the Corvallis roster.
The Blue Devils made it a 15-0 gap in the fourth with Greenwood clubbing a two-run double to right field after Nelson had singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Butte Central needed to score a run in its half to keep from having the game end on the 15-run difference, four-inning rule. The Maroons scored three.
With one out, eighth-grader first baseman Kodee Badovinac lined a pitch off Nelson’s leg and got to first before the carom could be fielded. Nelson was OK and continued to pitch. Lalicker smacked a base hit to left field, which got past the fielder. The error allowed Badovinac to cross the plate and Lalicker to get to third. She then dashed home on a wild pitch. Stajcar worked a walk, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit into left-center by sophomore right fielder Sophia Gelling.
Corvallis added its last run in the fifth on a ground-rule double by Nelson after consecutive singles by Libby Jessop and junior second baseman Riley Dahlstrom.
Eighth-grader shortstop Kenzie McQueary led off the BC half of the inning with a double into the right-field corner. After an out, Schelin rapped a single off Cashell’s outstretched glove at shortstop and into center field. Runners were on second and third, but Nelson was able to retire the next two Maroons on a popup and strikeout to end the game on the 10-run difference rule.
Butte Central got its first win of the year last weekend when it defeated Browning at the Frenchtown Invitational tournament. The Maroons are 1-13 for the year and will play at Dillon on Tuesday. They will play host to their annual LaVerne Combo Memorial invitational tournament next weekend.
Corvallis has a 4-8 record.
Corvallis 219 31x x – 16 17 2
Butte Central 000 30x x — 3 6 5
Caitlin Nelson and Lacey Jessop. Braelynn Schelin and Arika Stajcar. W – Nelson. L – Schelin.
CORVALLIS (4-8) – Emma Cashell 2-3, Ava Loran 3-5, Jadyn Greenwood 2-4, Sophie Cooper 2-4, Libby Jessop 2-2, Ericka Jessop 0-2, Riley Dahlstrom 1-1, Caitlin Nelson 3-4, Makaia McEwen 0-4, Taylor Andersen 0-0, Lacey Jessop 2-5.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-13) – Kenzie McQueary 1-3, Natalie Osterman 0-3, Braelynn Schelin 1-3, Kodee Badovinac 1-3, Kathryn Lalicker 1-3, Arika Stajcar 1-1, Cloe Stillwagon 0-2, Chloe Wright 0-0, Sophia Gelling 1-1, Marly Mansanti 0-2.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Cashell, Cooper, Loran, Greenwood, Nelson, McQueary. HR – Greenwood.
Runs batted in – Corvallis 13 (Greenwood 5, Nelson 3, Libby Jessop 2, Cashell 1, Loran 1, Cooper 1), Butte Central 1 (Gelling).