Bulldogs, Rustlers split Eastern AA twin bill

Bulldogs, Rustlers split Eastern AA twin bill
Butte High's Brittney Tierney slides into second base as Great Falls Russesll second baseman Kendal Blades goes for the tag Monday afternoon at Stodden Park. Tierney was called out on the play. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler

Defense wins.

It was a point shown and emphasized Monday when Butte High and C.M. Russell of Great Falls split an Eastern AA Conference high school girls’ softball doubleheader at Stodden Park.

Butte High played error-free in the first game and won by a 4-2 count, then committed six errors as C.M. Russell rolled to a 14-6 victory to finish the set.

Senior Butte High shortstop Taylor Huff continued her power surge with home runs six and seven for the season — a pair of two-run blasts both traveling well over the left-field fence, one in each game.

Junior second baseman Bradie Lester belted a solo home run, going back-to-back with Huff, in the second game. McCaul McCarthy pitched a three-hitter to come out the winning pitcher. Madison Skeel suffered some defensive abandonment in absorbing the loss in the nightcap.

“I asked the girls,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs, said, “ ‘What’s the moral to the story of the day?’

“ ‘They said: We played defense in the first game and didn’t play defense in the second.’ “

The play of Butte High in the first game was a realization for Stosich and staff.

“That’s the team we envisioned,” Stosich said. “It’s taken the whole season, but, now, we can beat anybody. I feel good about how we played that first one. That team in game one was the one we envisioned. It might take another week, but we’ll get there.”
Russell came in with a winning record and jockeying for higher seeding as the regular season ends this week. The Rustlers left with a split of the twin bill, which gave them records of 9-7 overall and 6-5 in Eastern AA play. Butte High will play at league leader Great Falls High on Tuesday. The defending state Class AA champion Bison are 13-1 and 8-1, their only loss coming at the hands of CMR last week. With Monday’s split, Butte High is 4-12 and 2-8.

“McCaul pitched OK in the first game, but she has to cut her walks down,” Stosich said. “She knows this. It’s a learning process. She pitched an OK game.

“(Brittney) Tierney and Huff had great days at the plate. Bradie (Lester) hit the ball well in the second game and played good defense (at second base) in the first game. We have to get a little better defense. The ones who play defense will play. McCaul made some nice plays on the mound, started a double play — one that wasn’t a line-drive double play like most are. Maddie pitched well in the second game, but we didn’t play defense behind her. She pitched well enough to win.”

The coach pointed out that CMR took conference contender Billings Skyview to extra innings before losing 1-0.

“We’re right there,” Stosich said.

The doubleheader was a makeup of one snowed out on April 16. After playing Great Falls on Tuesday, the Bulldogs will return to their home field on Thursday for a non-conference game against Missoula Big Sky, making up an April 2 playing date that was also wiped out by bad weather. The Thursday game will be Senior Parents Day for the Butte HIgh team. Senior players and their parents will be recognized before the game starts.

Butte High 4, Great Falls CMR 2

Huff hammered her home run in the third inning and freshman Kodie Hoagland delivered a two-run double in the fourth as the Bulldogs built a 4-0 lead. Huff’s homer came with two outs and Tierney on base via a walk.

Then, in the fourth, Jaden Cleveland walked with two out and Aubree Corcoran reached on an error when the fielder couldn’t pull the ball out of her mitt to make a throw. The slap-hitting Hoagland then dropped a fly ball into short left field, way away from how the defense was aligned and both Cameron LaFond and Corcoran scored. LaFond was a courtesy runner for Cleveland. Hoagland sped to second base for the double.

McCarthy struck out four batters, walked eight and hit two. She allowed only three hits. The Bulldogs turned two double plays while playing errorless in the field.

The Rustlers didn’t score until the top of the sixth inning — both runs tallying on a pair of bases-loaded wild pitches. Russell had no hits in the frame.

Senior Madison Moore pitched the distance for CMR and recorded seven strikeouts and five walks. She completed a five-hitter. Freshman Tori LaPierre clubbed a double for the Rustlers’ only extra-base hit.

McCarthy retired Russell hitters in order in the top of the seventh, two on groundouts to Lester — one on a nice play with the second baseman lunging into right field — and the last out made on a flyball to Trisha Ericson in right field.

McCarthy was coming off a no-hitter she pitched in a win last week at Bozeman.

C.M. Russell          000    002    0 — 2 3 1
Butte High            002      200  x — 4 5 0
Madison Moore and Kiely Gunderson. McCaul McCarthy and Brittney Tierney. W — McCarthy (3-7). L — Moore.
C.M. RUSSELL (8-7, 5-5) — Lauren Lindseth 0-1, Teagan Taylor 1-3, Madison Moore 1-2, Josephine Slater 0-4, Kiely Gunderson 0-3, Cadence Propios 0-0, Tori LaPierre 1-2, Megan Toplovich 0-1, Kendal Blades 0-0, Alyana White 0-1, Madeline Hamma 0-0, Peyton Peterson 0-3.
BUTTE HIGH (4-11, 2-7) —Kodie Hoagland 2-4, MacKenzie Tutty 0-4, Brittney Tierney 1-2, MaKenna Carpenter 0-0, Taylor Huff 1-2, Bradie Lester 0-3, McCaul McCarthy 0-2, Trisha Ericson 0-3, Jaden Cleveland 0-1, Cameron LaFond 0-0, Aubree Corcoran 1-3.
Extra-base hits — 2B — LaPierre, Hoagland. HR Huff (6).
Runs batted in —CMR 0, Butte High 4 (Huff 2, Hoagland 2).

Great Falls CMR 14, Butte High 6

The Rustlers scored 11 runs in the fifth and sixth innings, many on, or associated with, Butte High errors, while widening too much of a lead for the Bulldogs to overcome. Moore slugged a home run for the Rustlers and drove in three runs.

Teagan Taylor started the game as CMR’s pitcher, then gave way to Moore in the sixth as the Bulldogs rallied. However, the rally fell short.

Russell rapped 18 hits to Butte High’s nine.

Skeel walked one batter and fanned three pitching the distance for the Bulldogs.

Butte High took a 1-0 lead at the start of the game as MacKenzie Tutty smacked a double into right-center gap and came home on a single to center by Tierney.

The score stayed 1-0 until Russell plated three runs in the fourth and took the lead for good. LaPierre reached on a one-out error and scored on a two-out double by Megan Toplovich. Kendal Blades singled Toplovich home and scored, after an error, on a single by Lauren Lindseth.

The Rustlers exploded for six runs in the fifth frame. Moore led it off with her home run.  One out later, LaPierre whacked a double and rode home on a single by Amara Stalsberg. An error and Blades’ infield hit loaded the bases. Madeline Hamma singled home two runs. Blades was cut down at the plate for the second out. Another error, however, let Hamma score and Moore singled home a run before the Bulldogs got out of the inning.

Butte High got four of the runs back in the sixth. Tierney led off with a single and then Huff and Lester pummeled their home runs. McCarthy then reached on an error and ran the bases home on singles by Ericson and MaKenna Carpenter. Moore spelled Taylor in the pitcher’s circle and retired the next three Bulldogs.

CMR put together another big inning with five runs in the sixth. Singles by LaPierre, Josephine Slater and Peyton Peterson to start the frame tallied one run. Two outs later, a walk filled the bags and two runs scored on a single by Taylor. Moore followed with a run-scoring single and another came home on an error.

Butte High scored the last run of the game in the top of the seventh inning. Tierney led off with a walk. Huff, offered absolutely nothing to hit, also walked. After a groundout by Lester moved the runners each up a bag, Tierney scored on a fielder’s choice hit into by McCarthy. A walk later, Moore ended the game with a strikeout.

Butte High                 100    004   1 —  6 9 6
C.M. Russell              000   365   x — 14 18 1
Madison Skeel and Trisha Ericson. Teagan Taylor, Madison Moore (6) and Kiely Gunderson. W — Taylor. L — Skeel (1-4).
BUTTE HIGH (4-12, 2-8) — Kodie Hoagland 0-3, MacKenzie Tutty 1-4, Brittney Tierney 2-2, Taylor Huff 1-3, Bradie Lester 1-3, McCaul McCarthy 0-4, Trisha Ericson 1-3, Jaycee Burke 0-0, Jaden Cleveland 1-2, MaKenna Carpenter 1-2, Aubree Corcoran 1-2, Cameron LaFond 0-1.
C.M. RUSSELL (9-7, 6-5) — Lauren Lindseth 2-3, Melina Cohens 1-1, Teagan Taylor 1-3, Veronica Evenson 0-1, Madison Moore 3-5, Kiely Gunderson 0-4, Cadence Propios 0-1, Tori LaPierre 2-5, Josephine Slater 2-3, Amara Stalsberg 1-1, Megan Toplovich 1-3, Peyton Peterson 1-1, Kendal Blades 2-3, Alyana White 0-1, Madeline Hamma 2-4.
Extra-base hits — 2B — Tutty, Toplovich, LaPierre. HR Huff (7), Lester (2), Moore.
Runs batted in — Butte 6 (Huff 2, Tierney 1, Lester 1, McCarthy 1, Carpenter 1), CMR 12 (Moore 3, Taylor 2, Hamma 2, Lindseth 1, Stalsberg 1, Toplovich 1, Peterson 1, Blades 1).

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