Butte High softball splits with Flathead, slates Wednesday home finale

KALISPELL – Butte High recovered from a wrenching first-game loss to hold on for a second-game victory in Western AA Conference high school girls’ softball play on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs split a doubleheader with Flathead High of Kalispell. The Bravettes eked out a 5-4 win in the first game before Butte High bounced back for a 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
The split sends the Bulldogs into their last home game of the season Wednesday, a 4 p.m. non-conference contest with East Helena at Stodden Park. Butte High’s planned Senior Day game earlier in the month was postponed and then canceled because of bad weather conditions. Class A East Helena stepped up to fill the opponent’s role so a game to honor Bulldog seniors could be played when makeups of the postponed tilt could not be arranged.
In the Tuesday doubleheader at Kalispell, Butte High held a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh when Flathead rallied for two runs to pull out the contest.
“Errors got us again,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “We out-hit them, but …”
The Bulldogs had a 7-6 edge in hits, but committed two errors while the Bravettes were errorless.
Junior shortstop Reese Conley doubled in two Flathead runs and the Bravettes also received RBIs from junior second baseman Ava Bessen, senior third baseman Kaidyn Lake and sophomore first baseman Kinsey Lake. The latter tripled. Junior Lacie Franklin pitched the win. She walked three and struck out two.
Butte High pitcher Ashlinn Mullaney dealt seven strikeouts and walked three. Sophomore right fielder Mattie Stepan slugged a double. She also singled and drove in three runs for the game. Senior left fielder Taylor Drakos hit two singles. Mullaney, junior catcher Gracie Ferriter and senior designated player each singled. Mullaney knocked in a run.
Butte High 003 010 0 – 4 7 2
Flathead 210 000 2 – 5 6 0
Ashlinn Mullaney and Gracie Ferriter. Lacie Franklin and Laynee Vessar. W – Franlin. L – Mullaney.
BUTTE HIGH –- Gracie Ferriter 1-3, Ashlinn Mullaney 1-4, Kamber Leary 0-3, Madisyn Swanson 0-3, Mattie Stepan 2-3, Allie Becker 0-0, Ashby Lee 1-3, Gracie Jonart 0-2, Hailey Skeel 0-1, Taylor Drakos 2-3, Dacelyn LaFond 0-1.
KALISPELL FLATHEAD – Mackenzie Brandt 0-4, Ava Bessen 1-4, Olivia Nyman 0-3, Reese Conley 1-4, Kaidyn Lake 1-3, Tegan Strauss 0-3, Laynee Vessar 1-2, Sawyer Van Campen 1-3, Kinsey Lake 1-3.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Stepan, Conley. 3B – Kinsey Lake.
Runs batted in – Butte High 4 (Stepan 3, Mullaney), Flathead 5 (Conley 2, Bessen 1, Kaidyn Lake 1, Kinsey Lake 1).
Second Game
Butte High jumped out to a 3-0 lead through three innings and made it be enough to fend off a Flathead rally.
Senior designated player Ashby Lee racked up three hits in three at-bats and drove in a run to pace the Bulldog growl. Sophomore right fielder Mattie Stepan and senior left fielder Taylor Drakos also batted in runs.
Butte High stacked nine hits – all singles. Drakos belted two to join Lee with multiples. Junior catcher Gracie Ferriter, junior center fielder Ashlinn Mullaney , senior pitcher Kamber Leary and sophomore second baseman Gracie Jonart each notched one.
Leary and Mullaney combined to pitch a four-hitter while Leary posted five strikeouts. Mullaney fanned one batter and they gave up only one base on balls.
Junior shortstop Reese Conley had two of the four Flathead hits, which also were all singles. Senior Kaidyn Lake and senior catcher Laynee Vessar each had one hit.
Flathead 000 200 0 – 2 4 0
Butte High 012 000 x – 3 9 0
Lacie Franklin and Laynee Vessar. Kamber Leary, Ashlinn Mullaney (5) and Gracie Ferriter. W – Leary. L – Franklin.
KALISPELL FLATHEAD (5-13, 3-9) – Mackenzie Brandt 0-3, Ava Bessen 0-1, Olivia Nyman 0-2, Reese Conley 2-3, Kaidyn Lake 1-3, Laynee Vessar 1-3, Tegan Strauss 0-3, Sawyer VanCampen 0-3, Kinsey Lake 0-3.
BUTTE HIGH (6-13, 4-9) – Gracie Ferriter 1-4, Ashlinn Mullaney 1-2, Kamber Leary 1-3, Madisyn Swanson 0-3, Mattie Stepan 0-3, Allie Becker 0-0, Ashby Lee 3-3, Avery Barsness 0-0, Gracie Jonart 1-2, Taylor Drakos 2-3, Hailey Skeel 0-1, Dacelyn LaFond 0-1.
Extra-base hits – None.
Runs batted in – Flathead 2 (Vessar 2), Butte High 3 (Stepan 1, Lee 1, Drakos 1).