Bulldogs sweep Broncs at Stodden

Both the park and the home team held together just fine Saturday afternoon as the Butte High Bulldogs posted an Eastern AA Conference girls’ softball doubleheader sweep of Billings Senior.

Butte High won by scores of 6-1 and 4-2 as junior pitcher Jessica Robertson twirled through two complete games. Hattie Thatcher, Maria Michelotti, Baylee Thatcher, Ashten McCloskey  and Bobbi Osterman were among the team’s hitting stars as the Bulldogs bounced back from losing both ends of a twin bill Friday against Billings West.

Friday saw a broken stadium light, gushing water from a pipe and a pitcher’s circle become undone at the Stodden Park facility. No such freak occurrences or problems distracted the players on Saturday.

“I was pretty happy overall with today,” Butte High head coach Steve Stosich said. “These were two good conference wins, but we did make it interesting at the end.”

The Bulldogs blunted Billings Senior comeback attempts in both games.

Robertson struck out 12 batters and walked two during the doubleheader, pitching a four-hitter in the first game and effectively scattering nine Bronc hits in the second.

“Jessica passed a big test, going back-to-back for us,” Stosich said. “(Former Bulldog aces) Jaimee Paffhausen, Darcy Powers and Marianne Leathers all went back-to-back for us in conference deep into the season. Jessica’s pitch count was only 91 after the first game, too, and that will make a difference in how much we’ll ask our pitchers to pitch, too.”

Conditions were windy and dusty, but the sun shined and temperatures were warm for the afternoon of softball.

The Broncs are in a rebuilding mode this season. First baseman Kim Bray is the only senior on the Billings Senior roster.

Butte High will be back home again on Tuesday at Stodden Park for a 2 p.m. tripleheader against Bozeman.

Butte High 6, Billings Senior 1

The Bulldogs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and stayed in front the rest of the way. Hattie Thatcher went 4-for-4 in the game and started with a base hit to center field. Katey Walsh laced a one-out hit off Bronc pitcher McKenzie Morgan’s glove and Michelotti singled in a run. Baylee Thatcher scored Walsh with a base hit to right field and then Osterman lofted a sacrifice fly to plate Michelotti.

Senior got a run back in the third inning as freshman Jeanann Lemelin crunched a home run over the center field fence. Lemelin is a daughter of former Anaconda athlete Jay Lemelin.

The Bulldogs closed with two runs in the fourth inning and one in the fifth. The fourth saw a Bronc error followed by three Butte High singles — by Nikki Guizzo, Justyce Connole and Hattie Thatcher — score the two runs. In the fifth, Michelotti singled, rode an Osterman double to third base and then raced home on a passed ball.

Senior saw a potential threat erased in the sixth inning by an illegal entry ruling when a new hitter failed to report her at-bat to the home plate umpire before the first pitch, stranding two runners. In the seventh, Hattie Thatcher ended the game with a running, lunging catch in center field.

Second baseman Ashten McCloskey made a nice running catch of a soft line drive, running to her right, in the fourth inning.

Robertson worked out of her biggest jam in the first when the Broncs loaded the bases with one out only to have the Bulldog hurler whiff two straight batters to end the threat.

Billings Senior          001     000     0  —  1     4    1

Butte High                300     210     x —    6     12   1

McKenzie Morgan and Sarah Bonner. Jessica Roberton and Maria Michelotti. W — Robertson. L — Morgan.

BILLINGS SENIOR — Jeanann Lemelin 1-4, Kristin Kaiser 1-3, Megan Olness 1-3, Sarah Bonner 0-2, Anna Paine 0-2, McKenzie Morgan 1-3, Kim Bray 0-3, Kayla Specht 0-2, Kaelee Massey 0-1, Jasmine Lee 0-3.

BUTTE HIGH — Hattie Thatcher 4-4, Ashten McCloskey 0-4, Katey Walsh 1-4, Maria Michelotti 3-3, Baylee Thatcher 1-3, Bobbi Osterman 1-2, Ashton LaFond 0-3, Nikki Guizzo 1-3, Audriana Baker 0-0, Justyce Connole 1-3.

Extra-base hits — 2B — Osterman. HR — Lemelin. RBIs — Billings Senior, Lemelin; Butte High, H. Thatcher 1, Michelotti 1, B. Thatcher 1, Osterman 1, Connole 1.

Butte High 4, Billings Senior 2

Butte High rescued the victory with a three-run fourth inning after falling behind the Broncs, 1-0, in the first frame of the second game.

Lemelin crashed a home run to left field as the Broncs’ first hitter in the second game, giving her two solo round-trippers for the day.

The score held until the fourth inning when Butte High went ahead, and for good. Michelotti reached on an error and Baylee Thatcher singled to left. Osterman drilled a run-scoring double into center field to tie the score. Thatcher tallied the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and Osterman then scored on a base hit by Justyce Connole.

The Bulldogs added a run in the fifth. Walsh singled with one out, but was erased on a fielder’s choice hit into by Michelotti. Baylee Thatcher followed with a base hit before Osterman delivered Michelotti home with a single.

Senior threatened in both the sixth and seventh innings, but had the uprisings put down. Morgan singled and Bray was hit by a pitch to start the Billings team’s half of the sixth. Robertson then coaxed Massey into a popout behind the plate, struck out Jenna Schaak and got Lemelin to fly out to left fielder Connole.

Anna Paine singled Kristin Kaiser home before Robertson ended the game by retiring Bray on a fly out to right fielder LaFond.

Butte High          000     310     0  —  4     9     1

Billings Senior   100     000     1  —  2     9     1

Jessica Robertson and Maria Michelotti. Sarah Bonner and Kristin Kaiser. W — Robertson. L — Bonner.

BUTTE HIGH — Hattie Thatcher 0-4, Ashten McCloskey 2-4, Katey Walsh 1-4, Maria Michelotti 0-4, Baylee Thatcher 2-3, Bobbi Osterman 2-3, Ashton LaFond 0-3, Nikki Guizzo 1-2, Audriana Baker 0-0, Megan Ingersoll 0-1, Justyce Connole 1-3.

BILLNGS SENIOR —  Jeanann Lemelin 2-4,  Kristin Kaiser 0-3, Megsn Olness 0-1, Kelsey Ripley 1-3, Sarah Bonner 1-4, Anna Paine 2-4, McKenzie Morgan 2-4, Kim Bray 0-3, Kaelee Massey 1-3, Jasmine Lee 0-1, Jenna Schaak 0-1.

Extra-base hits — 2B — Osterman. HR — Lemelin. RBIs — Butte High, Osterman 2, Connole 1; Billings

Senior Lemelin 1, Paine 1.


Butte High’s Ashten McCloskey drives a ball to the outfield in Game 2.