Butte High thunders past Corvallis

By Bruce Sayler

The concoction worked for Butte High baseball in chilly weather and under threatening skies on Friday.
Head coach Jim LeProwse liked Gavin Trudgeon’s pitching to contact and his getting right with it doing it in a 9-3 win over Corvallis with important offensive support from the lineup.
“Gavin did a great job,” LeProwse said of the senior right-hander. “He was sharp from the first inning on whereas usually it takes him a couple of innings to get going. Gavin did a good job of getting bad contact.”
So, the Blue Devils had difficulty barreling up against him as the Butte High pitcher worked corners while keeping the ball down in the zone. He pitched a five-hitter in going the whole seven-inning route, walked only one batter and struck out seven.
Shortstop Cayde Stajcar and catcher Quinn Cox, especially, backed him in an 11-hit Bulldog attack. Stajcar was 3-for-4 at the plate and Cox drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double. Tocher Lee knocked in two runs and singled, Karsen McEwen doubled and singled, Will Stepan whacked a double, and Logan Carden, Lucas Huerta-Harris and Zack O’Connell all belted singles.
The Bulldogs had suffered a 7-6 loss in extra innings at Corvallis earlier this month. The home confines of Miners Field at 3 Legends Stadium in Copper Mountain Sports and Recreation Park proved friendlier to the Butte High squad.
“We needed this win,” LeProwse said, noting Butte High, Hamilton, Corvallis and Florence are all vying for three spots in the postseason awarded their conference. “If we win the rest of the way out and beat Florence (by more than a run), we will be the No. 1 seed (from the conference).”
The coach said his team’s defense needs some shoring up still.
“This team is more mistake-prone than any of mine usually is,” he said. “Part of it might be because we hadn’t practiced outside much and some is a lack of concentration. Some could also be on our pitchers, them not hitting their spots and balls getting hit harder than we would think they would. It’s something we have to clean up.”
An error Friday led to Corvallis’ only lead. Owen Marston led off the first inning with a bunt single and went to second on a groundout. Brandon Brenneman’s ground ball was mishandled and Marston scored. A lineout and a foul-out ended the half-inning, but the Blue Devils were up by 1-0.
The Bulldogs got it back fast. Stajcar stung a one-out single to left, stole second base, took third on a passed ball and dashed home on a wild pitch. The score stayed tied at 1-all until the bottom of the second.
O’Connell hit a one-out single to right and McEwen got a base hit on a windblown popup. A comebacker moved the runners up a bag and Lee delivered both home with his base hit down the left-field line. Butte High had the lead for good. Lee stole second and third and continued home when an errant throw soared into left field.
Butte High had a 4-1 advantage.
Corvallis got a run in the third. Charlie Chavez reached on a one-out infield hit after Marston, safe on a dropped third strike, was thrown out by Cox trying to steal second base. Chavez then stole second and went to third on an error. An out later, Chavez raced home from third base on a double steal while Brenneman got himself caught in a rundown between first and second base.
The Bulldogs tallied a run in fourth inning on back-to-back doubles by McEwen and Stepan. They scored another in the fifth as Carden was safe on an error, took second on a passed ball and scored on a base hit to right by Huerta-Harris.
The Butte High cushion was 6-2 and they fluffed it more with a three-run sixth, all scoring on Cox’s double to left field. O’Connell, Stepan and Stajcar set the table with a walk, reaching on an error and a base hit to fill the bags.
Corvallis didn’t roll over. The Blue Devils fought back for one more run in the seventh. Joe Hixon led off the inning with a double into the right-center gap and stole third base. Bennett Boelman’s groundout knocked him in before Trudgeon retired Marston on strikes and Chavez on a flyout to right.
The loss dropped Corvallis to 5-6 for the season. Butte High takes a 6-4 mark into Saturday when the Bulldogs are scheduled to play a doubleheader against in-town rival Butte Central – weather permitting. Starting times are planned for noon and 4 p.m. at 3 Legends Stadium.
Corvallis 101 000 1 – 3 5 4
Butte High 130 113 x – 9 11 4
Branden Wiren, Brandon Brenneman (3), Bobby Truc (6) and Charlie Chavez. Gavin Trudgeon and Quinn Cox. W – Trudgeon. L – Wiren.
CORVALLIS (5-6) – Owen Marston 1-4, Charlie Chavez 1-3, Brandon Brenneman 0-3, Maurice Craun 0-3, Branden Wiren 0-3, Bobby Truc 0-0, Jake Leavitt 1-2, Andrew Pintok 1-3, Joe Hixon 1-3, Bennett Boelman 0-3.
BUTTE HIGH (6-4) – Tocher Lee 1-4, Cayde Stajcar 3-4, Quinn Cox 1-4, Matthew Donaldson 0-2, Logan Carden 1-4, Lucas Huerta-Harris 1-3, Mason Armstrong 0-0, Zack O’Connell 1-2, Karsen McEwen 2-2, Will Stepan 1-3.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Hixon, McEwen, Stepan, Cox.
Runs batted in – Corvallis 2 (Brenneman 1, Boelman 1), Butte High 7 (Cox 3, Lee 2, Huerta-Harris 1, Stepan 1).