Bulldog seniors have their day, trap Beavers

By Bruce Sayler
Ethan “EZ” Cunningham and his fellow seniors answered the goodbyes on Butte High baseball Senior Day with an encore performance Friday, charging the Bulldogs past Dillon 7-1 at 3 Legends Stadium in their last regular-season game.
Cuningham struck out 10 batters, walked one and finished the game with a three-hitter.
“I was really happy today with the way we played,” Butte High head coach Jim LeProwse said. “And, EZ pitched a great game.
“Emotions are high on a day like this, days like Senior Day. The guys did a great job of keeping their composure, and we came out of it with a ‘W.’ “
LeProwse started and played all seven seniors with Cunningham on the mound, Jimmy Blow at second base, Kevin Donaldson in right field, Tyler Duffy behind the plate, Anthony Knott in left field, Sean Ossello in center field and Zach Tierney at designated hitter.
They were honored with their families in a pre-game ceremony and then went out and combined for six of the team’s eight hits and knocked in five of the seven runs in addition to Cunningham’s pitching numbers.
Butte High got tagged with two errors, but the defense was overall pretty sterling. The outfield almost refused to let any flyballs hit the grass and some nice plays were made on the infield as well.
“We have guys on the bench who can play very well in the outfield, too,” LeProwse said. “We had all seniors out there today, but there’s four or five guys who all can play out there. It’s a veteran team, but we have some guys ready to step up next year, too. We have 11 juniors so it will be interesting to see what they do, too.
“I think we have shortstop held for the held for the next three years, though.”
He was referring to freshman standout Cayde Stajcar, who mans the position with Great Plains range, packs a strong throwing arm and swings a proficient bat.
Cunningham and Dillon freshman Sawyer Tackett dueled through two-and-a-half scoreless innings before Butte High broke onto the scoreboard with a six-run inning. Donaldson led off the Butte half and drew a walk, then stole second base. Knott singled to left. Donaldson dashed home on a wild pitch just before Stajcar grounded out, sending Knott to third base. Tierney singled to left field, knocking home Knott. Cunningham singled to center field and Alex Jorgensen was plunked with a pitch to load the bases. A walk issued to Blow forced in a run and kept the bags filled. Duffy reached on an infield hit, driving in a run, and an errant throw home let another cross the plate. A walk to Ossello repacked the sacks and Donaldson lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Blow. Another walk loaded the bases, but a groundout ended the inning.
If there was a negative for the Bulldogs Friday it was that they left 12 runners on base.
The Beavers got their run in the top of the fourth inning. Tackett reached on an error to start the inning and got to second base when the throw sailed out of the playing field. Tackett took third base on a groundout and came in when Damon Skradski beat out an infield hit.
Butte High scored the last run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when Stajcar was safe on a two-out infield hit and rode home on a double by Tierney into the right-center field alley.
Tierney and Duffy led the Butte High offense with two hits each. Knott, Stajcar, Cunningham and Quinn Cox knocked singles.
The state baseball tournament is scheduled for next weekend, May 18-20, at 3 Legends Stadium in Copper Mountain Sports Park. LeProwse said he thinks the Bulldogs will meet Florence in the first round. It will be the Montana High School Association’s first-ever state baseball tournament. Other teams to be in the field are Whitefish, Eureka, Polson, Frenchtown, Hamilton and Belgrade, LeProwse said.
Butte High finished the regular season with an 11-2 record. Both losses were to Belgrade.
Dillon 000 100 0 – 1 3 1
Butte High 006 010 x – 7 8 2
Sawyer Tackett, Tyler Lagunas (4), Cohen Hartman (6) and Jesse Hughes. Ethan Cunningham and Tyler Duffy. W – Cunningham. L – Tackett.
DILLON (7-10) – Sawyer Tackett 0-3, Kale Konen 0-3, Damon Skradski 2-3, Jesse Hughes 1-3, Tyler Lagunas 0-3, Cohen Hartman 0-3, Andrew Bartlome 0-3, Trenton Moreni 0-3, Ivan Van Horne 0-0, Marcus Lagunas 0-3.
BUTTE HIGH (11-2) – Sean Ossello 0-3, Kevin Donaldson 0-1, Anthony Knott 1-3, Cayde Stajcar 1-4, Zach Tierney 2-3, Derek Dunmire 0-0, Ethan Cunningham 1-2, Alex Jorgensen 0-2, Quinn Cox 1-1, Jimmy Blow 0-2, Tyler Duffy 2-3.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Skradski, Tierney.
Runs batted in – Dillon 1 (Skradski), Butte High 5 (Tierney 2, Donaldson 1, Blow 1, Duffy 1).