By Bruce Sayler
The offense arrived late in the game, but was on time for a Butte High win Tuesday as the Bulldogs completed a softball sweep of the Bozeman schools.
Butte High used a six-run fifth inning to pass Bozeman High for a 7-2 victory over the Hawks after an earlier 17-6 bashing of Bozeman Gallatin earlier in the afternoon. The two Class AA non-conference games were played at a windy, chilly Stodden Park.
Freshman pitcher Ashlinn Mullaney tossed a four-hitter against the Hawks after being the Butte High hitting star in the romp over Gallatin.
“It was a good couple of games for us,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “We got a lot of kids the games. We had some big hits out of some of the kids, and Ashlinn pitched a good game.”
Stosich pointed to hits by sophomore second baseman Dacelyn LaFond, sophomore third baseman Kamber Leary and freshman right fielder Brityn Stewart as being huge in Butte High’s important fifth inning. Senior shortstop Kodie Hoagland delivered a two-run hit while continuing her level of all-star play.
Stewart nearly crunched a fence-clearer in the second inning, but “that Bozeman left fielder (Brooke Brown) robbed her of a home run while making a nice play,” Stosich said.
The coach said Leary’s play at the hot corner was strong all day, too. Among her gems were a pair of efforts ranging across the diamond to glove bouncers behind the pitcher’s circle for throw-outs to first base.
The Hawks started six freshmen and carried only 14 names on their roster. Junior pitcher Anna Toth dueled with Mullaney until the fifth inning and held the Bulldogs to a fourth-inning Rian Ferriter single until the explosive frame.
Meanwhile, Bozeman had a 1-0 edge gained in the top of the first inning when freshman shortstop Jacobi Coombs led off with a single to left out, stole second and third bases and scored on a wild pitch.
Mullaney retired 10 Hawks in a row before hitting Chloe Williams, one of two Bozeman seniors, with a pitch with two out in the fifth. Mullaney got Brown on a comebacker and then saw her teammates rally for the win.
Freshman catcher Gracie Ferriter, playing for injured senior Jordyn Bolton, walked to start he Butte HIgh fireworks, then was safe at second base on a dropped toss after freshman pinch-hitter Madisyn Swanson hit into a fielder’s choice and was also safe due to the error at second base. After an out, LaFond drove Ferriter home with the tying run with a ground-rule double to left field. Hoagland then singled to right field to drive in Swanson and LaFond and the Bulldogs led 3-1.
Rian Ferriter was hit by a pitch following an out and Leary doubled down the left-field line, scoring Hoagland. Stewart pasted a single to left to knock in Rian Ferriter and Leary and chase Toth. Freshman Madison Tobin moved from first base to the pitcher’s circle and walked two Bulldogs to load the bases before retiring the side on a flyball.
Butte High owned a 6-1 command.
Bozeman scored a run in the top of the sixth when Coombs led off by reaching on an error, went to second on a single by senior Josie Laufenberg, took third on a groundout and ran home on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs tallied the last run in the bottom of the sixth inning on consecutive one-out singles by Hoagland, Mullaney and Rian Ferriter.
Mullaney yielded a one-out single to Williams in the top of the seventh, then ended the game by inducing two straight groundouts to Hoagland.
Mullaney struck out four batters and walked just one in gaining the pitching win.
The loss dropped the Hawks to 4-8 for the season while Butte High will take an 8-8 overall record into a Western AA Conference game against league leader Helena Capital Thursday in Helena. Butte High is 6-4 in conference counters.
Bozeman 100 001 0 — 2 4 2
Butte High 000 061 x — 7 8 1
Anna Toth, Madison Tobin (5) and Izzy Van Tighem. Ashlinn Mullaney and Gracie Ferriter. W – Mullaney. L – Toth.
BOZEMAN HIGH (4-8) — Jacobi Coombs 1-4, Josie Laufenberg 1-3, Tailyn Black 0-3, Betsy Hopkinson 0-2, Anna Toth 0-3, Madison Tobin 1-3, Izzy Van Tighem 0-2, Lili Brown 0-0, Chloe Williams 1-2, Brooke Brown 0-3.
BUTTE HIGH (8-8) — Kodie Hoagland 2-3, Ashlinn Mullaney 1-4, Ashby Lee 0-0, Rian Ferriter 2-3, Sophie Radcliffe 0-0, Kamber Leary 1-4, Brityn Stewart 1-4, Gracie Ferriter 0-1, Cami Kautzman 0-0, Joscelyn Cleveland 0-1, Madisyn Swanson 0-1,Taylor Drakos 0-0, Maddi Jonart 0-3, Dacelyn LaFond 1-3.
Extra-base hits – 2B – LaFond, Leary.
Runs batted in – Bozeman 0, Butte High 7 (Hoagland 2, Stewart 2, R. Ferriter 1, Leary 1, LaFond 1).