MISOULA — A second-inning home run by Butte High junior Isabelle Bonney had the Bulldogs sitting pretty in the first round of the Class AA State softball tournament at Fort Missoula.
The blast put the Bulldogs up 2-1 in the top of the second inning against Missoula Big Sky ace Macy Newbary, one of the top pitchers in the state.
That, however, was the last clutch hit of the day for the Bulldogs, who fell 9-2, surrendering two runs in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and four in the sixth. The game included a rain delay of about 45 minutes in the third inning.
Butte High will now head to the loser’s bracket, where the Bulldogs will face Helena High at noon Friday in the double-elimination tournament. The Bulldogs will have to win three games Friday to reach Saturday. Bracket
“We were right there,” Butte High coach Ryan Stosich said. “We just didn’t have the big hits — the timely hits with runners on.”
Kendal Rauk hit a home run, a double and a single to lead Big Sky’s 11-hit attack. Jamie Schafer went 2 for 3 with a double, while Frankie Schwenk and Morgan Johnson each added two singles for last year’s State runners up.
Butte High freshman Kaidy McClafferty picked up the loss that Stosich said was closer to a win than the score indicated.
“Kaidy pitched pretty well,” Stosich said. “Honestly, it was about three pitches that really hurt us.”
Amanda Spear and Katelyn Alley added doubles for the Bulldogs, while lead-off hitter Ashten McCloskey belted two singles. Kennedi Ferriter and Maria Michelotti hit singles.
Butte High 110 000 0 – 2 6 0
Missoula Big Sky 100 224 x – 9 11 0
Kaidy McClafferty and Maria Michelotti. Macy Newbary and Morgan Johnson. W – Newbary. L – McClafferty (11-9).
BUTTE HIGH (13-12) – Ashten McCloskey 2-4, Kennedi Ferriter 1-3, Michelotti 1-3, Amanda Spear 1-3, Bethany McLean 0-3, Justyce Connole 0-3, Katelyn Alley 1-3, Isabelle Bonney 1-3, Tristan Walks 0-3.
MISSOULA BIG SKY –Newbary 0-1, Kiley Snow 1-4, Johnson 2-3, Jaime Schafer 2-3, Kendall Mooney 1-4, Kendal Rauk 3-4, Chelsea Todd 0-3, Quincy Preston 0-3, Frankie Schwenk 2-3.
2B – Alley, Spear; Rauk, Schafer. HR – Bonney; Rauk. RBIs – Bonney, Ferriter; Snow 2, Schafer 3, Rauk 4.