Copperheads nip Maroons in Southwestern A thriller

Butte Central ran out of time Friday night at Stodden Park.

The Maroons left the tying run in scoring position on Field No. 2 as the Copperheads knocked off BC 8-7 in a Southwestern A softball game.

The win moved the Copperheads to 4-0 in conference and 4-2 overall. Butte Central fell to 3-2 and 3-4 with their second conference loss in as many days.

“There’s not really a weak team in our conference,” BC coach Kelci Thatcher said after the Copperheads pounded 16 hits in the win. “Everybody is pretty fundamentally sound hitting wise.”

The Copperheads not only had a ton of hits Friday, they got them at the right time. Anaconda scored five runs with two outs, including the two that proved to be the game-winners in the seventh inning.

With the score tied at 6 going into the final inning, the Coppeheads made two quick outs before Shelbie Roche — the No. 8 hitter — blasted a double to right field. She scored the go-ahead run when Kristy Hayden blooped a single to right. Hayden scored on a solid single by Lacee Moodry.

“They put the ball in play — not a lot of fly balls and not a lot of strikeouts,” Thatcher said. “They go to the plate with confidence and put the ball in play when they needed.”

The Copperheads, though, opened the door in the bottom of the inning with a pair of errors.

Megan Michelotti reached on a miscue and scored when Shawnee Hjelt reached on a two-out, two-base error.

The game came down to a battle between Anaconda junior pitcher Andrea Mavrinac and BC sophomore left fielder Emily St. John.

St. John worked the count full and fouled off a payoff pitch before sharply grounding to Roche at second base for the final out.

The Maroons were again playing without ace Teresa Piazzola, who aggravated the lower back injury that kept her out of the State tournament last spring. Piazzola underwent an MRI Friday, and is expected to be out at least another week.

Junior McKenzie Gallager filled in and battled the Copperhead lineup that is tough from top to bottom.

BC pitcher McKenzie Gallagher delivers a pitch as first baseman Mollie Peoples gets into position.

BC pitcher McKenzie Gallagher delivers a pitch as first baseman Mollie Peoples gets into position.

Thatcher said the Maroons weren’t exactly stellar backing up the pitcher with errors and mental errors.

“The thing about Kenzie is she has given us every opportunity to win,” Thatcher said of Gallagher, who struck out seven and walked one.

The game was a seesaw affair right from the start.

Anaconda Struck first when Moodry, the leadoff hitter who went 4 for 5, doubled to left field. Randee Jo Johnson followed with a walk.

Gallagher and the Maroons nearly worked around the early jam. Michaela Cortright, though, delivered with a two-out hit to score Moodry.

Freshman center fielder Kloie Thatcher ended the inning when Johnson tried to score from second on the hit. Thatcher threw an absolute dart to catcher Corbyn Holm, who tagged out Johnson at a close play at the plate.

“She made a lot of great plays out there,” coach Thatcher said. “She reads the ball really well, she has a great arm, she’s quick.”

The Maroons answered quickly when Hjelt led off the bottom of the first with a home run field. The junior second baseman thought she hit a double and stopped at second before getting word from the dugout that she went yard.

Maroon Shawnee Hjelt smiles at teammates after learning she hit a home run while rounding second base.

Maroon Shawnee Hjelt smiles at teammates after learning she hit a home run while rounding second base.

Mollie Peoples hit a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by Corby Holm for a 2-1 BC lead.

Anaconda tied the game at 2 in the second when Moodry singled in Shea Forsberg, who singled, with two outs.

Both teams left 10 runners on base in the game. Coach Thatcher pointed out that five of BC’s stranded runners came in the first two innings.

“We still left too many base runners on,” the coach said. “Something we’ve got to get better at is pressure situations with hitting. The first two innings we left five people on. When you put the ball in play, good things happen.”

Anaconda retook the lead with a run in the third when Kassandra Florez, who made several outstanding plays at shortstop, hit a home run over the fence in center.

Again, the lead didn’t last. Holm and Kassidy Criscuolo hit back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the third. Criscuolo and courtesy runner Desaray Blunt scored when Michelotti hit a hard double down the third-base line.

Michelotti scored on a Hjelt single.

The Copperheads tied game with two in the fourth, and an error led to a go-ahead Anacodna run in the fifth.

Forsberg reached on two-out error. She scored on a Mavrinac single to make it 6-5.

The Maroons tied the game one last time in the sixth. After St. John worked a walk, Peoples reached on a fielder’s choice. Peoples took second and third no wild pitches before scoring on a solid single by Thatcher with one out.

The Maroons, though left Thatcher on second base, sending the game to the seventh tied at 6.

Roche tallied three hits for the Copperheads, who also got two apiece from Flores and Mavrinac. Mavrinac struck out three and walked four in the win.

Hjelt, Peoples and Thatcher each had two hits for the Maroons. Holm, Criscuolo, Michilotti and Gallager added one.

Butte Central is back in action Tuesday when the Maroons hit the road to take on Livingston in a nonconference game. They will play at a tournament in Frenchtown next weekend.

Before that, Thatcher said her team will work on situational hitting and fielding and overall fundamentals.

“We’ll bounce back,” Thatcher said. “You’ve just got to keep coming and working hard and getting better every day.”

ANACONDA             AB  R  H BI  BUTTE CENTRAL        AB  R  H BI
Lacee Moodry          5  1  4  1  Shawnee Hjelt         4  1  2  2  
Randee Jo Johnson     4  0  1  1  Emily St. John        4  0  0  0  
Hanna Schaefer        5  0  1  0  Mollie Peoples        4  2  2  0  
Kassandra Flores      4  1  2  1  Kloie Thatcher        4  0  2  1  
Michaela Courtright   4  0  1  1  Taylor Wahl           3  0  0  0  
Shea Forsberg         4  2  1  0  Corbyn Holm           4  1  1  1  
Andi Mavrinac         3  1  2  1  Kassidy Criscuolo     3  1  1  0  
Shelbie Roche         4  2  3  0  Megan Michelotti      4  2  1  2  
Kristy Hayden         4  1  1  2  McKenzie Gallagher    4  0  1  0  
TOTALS               37  8 16  7  TOTALS               34  7 10  6
ANACONDA                      111 210 20 -- 8  
BUTTE CENTRAL                 203 001 1x -- 7  
Kristy Hayden, Kassandra Flores, Shea Forsberg, Emily St.
John, Corbyn Holm, Kassidy Criscuolo. 2B--Lacee Moodry,
Shelbie Roche, Mollie Peoples, Kassidy Criscuolo, Megan
Michelotti. HR--Kassandra Flores, Shawnee Hjelt. SACB--Andi
Mavrinac. SB--Shelbie Roche, Mollie Peoples.
 ANACONDA                        IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Andi Mavrinac (W)              7.00   10    7    4    4    3    1
 BUTTE CENTRAL              
McKenzie Gallagher (L)         7.00   16    8    6    1    7    1
PB--Corbyn Holm. WP--Andi Mavrinac (2). SO--Hanna Schaefer
(2), Kristy Hayden, Andi Mavrinac, Randee Jo Johnson,
Michaela Courtright, Shea Forsberg, Emily St. John (2),
McKenzie Gallagher. BB--Randee Jo Johnson, Emily St. John,
Shawnee Hjelt, Kassidy Criscuolo, Taylor Wahl.

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