Bulldogs’ big inning douses Dillon in Butte home opener

By Bruce Sayler
(Photo by Josie Trudgeon Photography.) 

Butte High capitalized on a six-error Dillon inning to win its baseball home opener Thursday on Miners Field in 3 Legends Stadium at Copper Mountain Sports and Recreation Park.
The Bulldogs triumphed 13-3 with the game ending in the bottom of the fifth inning on the 10-run difference rule.
“We have a super aggressive team,” Butte High head coach Jim LeProwse said. “The guys really want to win. And, we’re still a pretty young team, too.”
The Bulldogs had just four seniors in the starting lineup and overcame a 3-0 Dillon lead to win in a shortened game.
Their five-run fourth inning fueled by Beaver miscues stretched out what had been a 5-3 edge gained in the second frame. They backed senior right-hander Derek Dunmire’s effective five-strikeout pitching to then secure the win.
The first at-bats, though, didn’t look promising for Butte High. Dillon loaded the bases with nobody in the top of the first as a pitched bounced off Sawyer Tackett’s helmet, Kale Konen drew a walk and Trenton Moreni placed a bunt into no-man’s land left of the mound for a single.
Butte High third baseman Matthew Donaldson threw out Tackett at the plate with a great catch by catcher Quinn Cox as Keyen Nash grounded into the fielder’s choice. However, Marcus Lagunas followed with a soft double that floated into the right-center field gap, scoring all three runners. Dunmire struck out the next two Beavers to end the surge. Dillon had a 3-0 lead.
Butte High bounced right back to tie in its half of the first. With one out, Cayde Stajcar was hit b a pitch and rode home on a flyball double by Cox to center field. A throwing error let Zack O’Connell reach base. Donaldson followed with a single that drove home Gavin Trudgeon, courtesy runner for Cox. Donaldson later scored the tying run on a double steal started by Karsen McEwen walking off first base and drawing a throw. He was safe at second base. An error put McEwen on base. Dillon pitcher Cohen Hartman fired a base-loaded strikeout to get out of the inning.
“I had faith we’d bounce back,” LeProwse said about the team erasing the deficit. “We have a lot of good kids and it was so early in the game. You probably heard me chewing on them some, but I expect a lot of this team, too. The team chemistry is amazing.”
Dunmire set the Beavers down in order on a flyout, strikeout and groundout in the second inning and the Bulldogs took the lead in the bottom of it. Tocher Lee led off with a walk and stole second base. An out later, Cox looped a single behind first base. Trudgeon ran for him again and, another out later, chased Lee across the plate as Donaldson crashed a triple into the right-center field alley.
Butte High’s big fourth inning started with Will Stepan hitting a single to center field and stealing second base. A fumbled throw let him go to third. Lee singled to right to score Stepan, then stole second and went on to third on a throwing error. Stajcar’s blue-darter single to left tallied Lee. Stajcar stole second base and continued on home as Dillon committed two errors on the play. Alex Jorgensen was safe on another error and Donaldson was hit by a pitch. McEwen walked to fill the bags. Lucas Harris-Huerta’s grounder was booted and two runs scored, completing the Bulldogs’ 10-run inning for a 10-3 command.
Dillon threatened in the fifth with two on base, but was unable to score. The Bulldogs closed it out in the last of the frame. Lee smoked a leadoff triple to center and Stajcar followed with an infield hit. Lee had to stay at third base on the play and Butte High packed the sacks when Cox was hit by a pitch. One out later, Donaldson received a walk that forced home a run and McEwen then lofted a sacrifice fly to center field that sent Stajcar home. After a wild pitch let the remaining baserunners move up a bag, Harris-Huerta hammered a base hit to center field that plated the game-ending run.
“We’ve practiced outside three times (because of weather) and we’ve lost two games,” LeProwse said. “The teams in the Bitterroot (Valley) haven’t had to practice inside once this year, their coaches said. Both losses were by a run and one was in the 10th inning. So, I like what we’ve done.
“We still have to fix some mistakes, but the team has a lot of confidence.”
The coach said younger players will continue to develop and bolster the lineup that has seen success so far this season.
Donaldson, a junior, went 2-for-2 with four runs batted in Thursday. Lee, Stajcar and Cox each knocked two hits. The 10-hit attack also saw singles by Harris-Huerta and Stepan. The Bulldogs are 4-2 for the season and scheduled next to play at Belgrade on Tuesday. Their next home date in April 20 against Columbus.
The Beavers have a 5-3 mark and were led by Lagunas with his bases-loaded double. Hartman struck out five Bulldogs in three innings. He walked three.
Dillon 300 00x xxx — 3 4 8
Butte High 320 53x – 13 10 1
Note – There were two outs when the game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning on the 10-run difference rule.
Cohen Hartman, Trenton Moreni (4) and Colby Garland. Derek Dunmire and Quinn Cox. W – Dunmire. L – Hartman.
DILLON (5-3) – Sawyer Tackett 0-2, Kale Konen 1-1, Trenton Moreni 1-2, Keyen Nash 0-3, Marcus Lagunas 1-3, Cohen Hartman 0-1, Jase Alvarez 0-2, Colby Garland 0-0, Taylor Handlos 1-2, Andrew Bartlome 0-2.
BUTTE HIGH (4-2) – Tocher Lee 2-3, Cayde Stajcar 2-3, Quinn Cox 2-3, Gavin Trudgeon 0-0, Zack O’Connell 0-2, Alex Jorgensen 0-2, Mattew Donaldson 2-2, Karsen McEwen 0-2, Lucas Harris-Huerta 1-2, Mason Armstrong 0-1, Logan Carden 0-0, Will Stepan 1-3.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Lagunas, Cox. 3B – Donaldson, Lee.
Runs batted in – Dillon 3 (Lagunas 3), Butte High 9 (Donaldson 4, Lee 1, Stajcar 1, Cox 1, McEwen 1, Harris-Huerta 1).