Butte High seniors have their day, swat East Helena

By Bruce Sayler
Kamber Leary started it and finished it for Butte High.
One of four seniors being honored on their day Wednesday, Leary was the starting pitcher and so tossed the pitch that started the game. She finished it with a three-run homer over the left-field fence that ended a 13-3 victory over East Helena in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The non-conference cross-class high school softball game was played at Stodden Park. It was a late-scheduled contest as Class AA Butte High was needing a Senior Day game to close its home season. Two prior tries were wiped out by wintry weather. The Bulldogs put out a call and Class A East Helena answered it.
The game ended early on the 10-run difference rule as both Leary and another senior, left fielder Taylor Drakos, slugged three-run homers in a 10-run Butte High fifth. Both blasts traveled over the left-field fence.
“Our hitters got their timing down against their pitcher,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs, said after his team collected a dozen hits in the 4 2/3 innings. “We played loose and had fun.
“And, we have to give a lot of thanks to East Helena. They didn’t have to play that game, do that for us and they did.”
Half of the Bulldogs’ hits were by the seniors – two each by Drakos and right fielder Dacelyn LaFond and one apiece by Leary and designated player Ashby Lee. Drakos’ were a double and the home run as she and Leary each drove in four runs. Junior center fielder Ashlinn Mullaney went 3-for-3 with a double while driving in a run, and sophomore second baseman Gracie Jonart also doubled, and had two RBIs. Junior first baseman hit a single and brought in a run. Junior catcher Gracie Ferriter also singled.
“It was a good day for our seniors,” Stosich said. “A couple got home runs. I hope they get a couple more on Saturday.”
Butte High closes the regular season on Saturday with a Western AA Conference game at Helena High.
Leary, on her pitching side, tossed a four-hitter against the Vigilantes, striking out two batters and walking none. She and Mullaney have performed the bulk of the Bulldogs’ pitching chores this spring.
Butte High took first lead, 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Mullaney whacked a one-out single to left field and advanced to third base on a pair of errors. She scored on a groundout by Leary to the right side.
East Helena tied the score with a run in the second. Kelly Blanchette and Taylor Field chained singles to center field and continued home on an error.
The Vigilantes then grabbed a 3-1 edge in the third inning with two runs. Stu Rogers led off with a single and Maya Westerhold’s spinner off the bat hit fair and caromed into foul territory, resulting in a base hit. Lauren Betz moved the runners on a sacrifice bunt, then courtesy runner Mabel Bruno came home on a groundout and Westlake raced home on an errant throw.
The Bulldogs got a run back in their half of the third. LaFond smashed a base hit off of third baseman Maddie Surginer and scored two outs later on a throwing error.
Butte High tied the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jonart drew a one-out walk and rode home on Drakos’ double into the left-center gap.
After a second straight three-up, three-down East Helena inning pitched by Leary, the Bulldogs lit their fuse in the last of the fifth. Ferriter led off with a hard line drive that was snared by Vigilante center fielder Westerhold. The next nine Butte High batters reached base.
Mullaney dumped a double behind first base that ricocheted into foul territory and away from the defense. Leary walked. Swanson singled Mullaney home with the go-ahead run. Lee looped a single into center field that loaded the bases. Jonart shot a two-run double down the left-center alley and Drakos followed with her three-run homer.
LaFond then singled to center field and pinch hitter Kendallyn Schad reached on a fielding error. Ferriter filled the bags with a base hit to center field. Mullaney lifted a sacrifice fly that plated LaFond and it was a 10-3 Bulldog bulge.
Then … game over. Leary bashed her three-run homer.
East Helena 012 0( 0)x x — 3 4 5
Butte High 101 1(10)x x – 13 12 2
Kadence Davey, Maddie Surginer (5), Davey (5) and Stu Rogers. Kamber Leary and Gracie Ferriter. W – Leary. L – Surginer.
EAST HELENA (6-11-1) – Lauren Betz 0-1, Keeley Hamilton 0-2, Maddie Surginer 0-2, Kelly Blanchette 1-2, Josie Jerome 0-0, Taylor Field 1-2, Kaitlyn McGowan 0-2, Emily Dearing 0-2, Stu Rogers 1-2, Mabel Bruno 0-0, Maya Westerhold 1-1.
BUTTE HIGH (7-13) – Gracie Ferriter 1-4, Ashlinn Mullaney 3-3, Kamber Leary 1-3, Madisyn Swanson 1-3, Ashby Lee 1-3, Hailey Skeel 0-0, Gracie Jonart 1-2, Taylor Drakos 2-3, Dacelyn LaFond 2-3, Allie Becker 0-2, Kendallyn Schad 0-1.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Drakos, Mullaney, Jonart. HR – Drakos, Leary.
Runs batted in – East Helena 2 (Hamilton 1, Dearing 1), Butte High 12 (Leary 4, Drakos 4, Jonart 2, Mullaney 1, Swanson 1).

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