Defending champion Bears bring down Bulldogs

Defending champs is a great description for the Billings West Golden Bears girls’ softball team. The reigning state Class AA high school titlists have been defending their crown quite well this young season.
Latest in West’s 2015 unbeaten streak was an Eastern AA Conference doubleheader sweep of Butte High on Saturday by the scores of 11-3 and 14-6 at Stodden Park.
“They’re good,” Butte High head coach Ryan Stosich said, agreeing with the general assessment of the Golden Bears. “Overall, I’d say our performance today was not bad. But if you’re not going to hit with them, they’re going to beat you. We knew that coming in.”
It is a daunting chore. Billings West hits well though all nine starters in the lineup and how deep into the bench is anybody’s guess. Everybody veteran coach Ed Kriskovich sent to the plate Saturday did just that — hit.
Still, the Bulldogs competed. The coaching staff is mixing veteran experience with young promise this season and results are promising.
“We hung with them a little bit,” Stosich noted. “We didn’t take advantage of the first two innings in that second game like we should have. Defensively, we played well except for a couple of miscues. If we make the routine plays, it much easier on our pitchers.
“We played a quality team.”
It was a four-seasons type of day at the park with a taste of about every kind of weather sampled during the twin bill. Mostly though, it was wind that whipped through the participants and spectators.
Both pitchers for Butte HIgh were freshmen and seemed poised enough — Kaidy McClafferty working the first game and Katlyn O’Brien the second. Both endured full seven-inning stints, threw hard and minimized their walks. They did their best to give their team a chance.
The Golden Bears, though, rapped 32 hits in the twin bill. led by top-of-the-order hitters Lexi Mayhood and Cody Rogers. Mayhood was 7-for-9 for the day with a double, a home run and seven runs batted in while batting out of the leadoff spot. Six of her RBIs were in the second game.
Rogers hit 6-for-10 with four RBIs and two doubles. Butte transplant Kendyl Boltz knocked in seven runs against her former schoolmates while penciled in as West’s cleanup hitter. Ashley Davis was the winning pitcher in the first game, Mayhood in the second.
The wins moved Billings West to 8-0 for the season, including a 5-0 league record. Butte High is 3-5, including 1-2 in Eastern AA play. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play at home on Tuesday against Bozeman at Stodden Park. It will be a conference game.

Billings West 11, Butte High 3
Billings West led all the way while snapping Butte High’s win streak at three games. Rogers clocked a two-run homer in the first for a quick 2-0 Golden Bear lead. Mayhood singled in a run in the second, then rode home on a ground-rule double by Rogers for a 4-0 advantage.
Butte High broke onto the scoreboard in the fourth inning as Katelyn Alley slugged a solo home run over the left-field fence.
Billings West took command with a four-run fourth inning. Boltz knocked in two with a bases-loaded double, then scored on a ground-rule two-bagger by Ashley Davis. A Butte High error let Davis come home.
Amanda Spear lined an opposite-field leadoff home run for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth before the Golden Bears came back with three runs in the fifth. MacKenzie Mayhood singled in one run, another scored when the hit was bobbled in the outfield and then Mayhood herself scored as Boltz belted a single down the left-field line.
Butte High plated the last run of the game in the last of the seventh. Justyce Connole and Maria Michelotti hit back-to-back two-out singles to bat in Alley, who got on base when her flyball was dropped in the outfield.
Davis struck out seven and walked none for Billings West. She gave up nine hits. McClafferty struck out seven and walked five in a tough effort for Butte High.

Billings West 220 430 0 — 11 14 1
Butte High 001 100 1 — 3 9 4
Ashley Davis and Kylee Koch. Kaidy McClafferty and Maria Michelotti. W — Davis. L — McClafferty (2-3).
BILLINGS WEST (7-0, 4-0) — Lexi Mayhood 3-4, Cody Rogers 4-5, MacKenzie Mayhood 3-4, Kendyl Boltz 2-5, Ashley Davis 1-2, Kylee Koch 1-5, Erin Watterud 1-4, Megan Dahlquist 0-1, Kelly Brotzel 0-3.
BUTTE HIGH (3-4, 1-1) — Ashten McCloskey 0-4, Justyce Connole 1-3, Maria Michelotti 1-4, Amanda Spear 2-4, Kennedi Ferriter 1-3, Bethany McLean 1-3, Jenna Walker 1-3, Isabelle Bonney 0-3, Katelyn Alley 2-3.
Extra-base hits — 2B — Rogers, Boltz, Davis. HR — Rogers, Alley (2), Spear (2).
Runs batted in — Billings West 8 (Rogers 3, Boltz 3, L. Mayhood 1, M. Mayhood 1), Butte High 3 (Michelotti 1, Spear 1, Alley 1).

Billings West 14, Butte High 6
Butte High took its only lead of the day when it scored three runs in the top of the first inning (Butte High batted in the top of the inning due to the format as it counted as Billings West’s home game against Butte High in the scheduling, which means the teams will not meet again in the regular season). The Bulldogs loaded the bases as McCloskey led off with a walk, Ferriter was hit by a pitch and Michelotti reached on an infield hit. Spear doubled to left field to plate two runs and Bethany McLean reached on a fielder’s choice as Jenna Walker, courtesy running for Michelotti, scored.
Billings West got one of the runs back in the last of the first as Boltz crunched a ground-rule double to left to drive in Lexi Mayhood, who had singled three batters earlier.
The Golden Bears wiped out the rest of their deficit with five runs scored in the second, taking a 6-3 lead. Bailey Scott doubled in one run, Lexi Mayhood doubled home two more and then Rogers and Boltz each smacked a run-scoring single.
Mayhood retired the next six Butte High batters in a row, five on strikeouts. Meanwhile, her team backed her with three more runs in the third inning. Scott’s second double scored Erin Watterud, who had beaten out an infield hit. Lexi Mayhood brought home Scott with a base hit and scored on a single by MacKenzie Mayhood after moving up a base on a single by Rogers.
The Bulldogs battled back with two runs in the fifth. They filled the bags on a walk to Ferriter, singled by Michelotti and a base on balls issued to Spear. One out later, Walker was hit by a pitch, forcing Ferriter home and keeping the sacks packed. Michelotti scored as Tristan Walks grounded out to Rogers at second base.
Walker had entered the game in center field to spell Connole, who left with a hurt elbow after being hit by a pitch. The seriousness of the injury was not yet known Saturday evening.
Billings West scored one run in the fifth and four in the sixth for a 14-5 cushion. The run in the fifth came after two outs when Rogers reached on an error and ran home on a double by MacKenzie Mayhood into the left-center field gap. In the sixth, Scott singled to drive in Ashley Costello who had reached on an error and gone to third base on a double by Brittney Hutchinson. Lexi Mayhood then walloped a three-run homer over the left-field fence to finish the Golden Bears’ scoring for the day.
The last run was the Bulldogs’ — in the top of the seventh.
Michelotti collected her third hit of the game, a single to left and took second on a wild pitch. Spear reached on an infield hit and Michelotti took third base on West’s only error of the day, a bobble. Michelotti then sprinted home on a wild pitch.
The winning pitcher, Mayhood, held Butte High to five hits while striking out 11 batters and walking three. O’Brien struck out five and walked two while absorbing the Bulldogs’ loss.

Butte High 300 020 1 — 6 5 2
Billings West 153 014 x — 14 18 2
Katlyn O’Brien and Maria Michelotti. Lexi Mayhood and Ashley Costello. W — L. Mayhood. L — O’Brien (0-2).
BUTTE HIGH (3-5, 1-2) — Ashten McCloskey 0-3, Kennedi Ferriter 0-2, Maria Michelotti 3-4, Amanda Spear 2-3, Bethany McLean 0-3, Brianna Ossello 0-1, Justyce Connole 0-1, Jenna Walker 0-1, Tristan Walks 0-4, Katelyn Alley 0-3, Ellie Hoffenbacker 0-2, Isabelle Bonney 0-1.
BILLINGS WEST (8-0, 5-0) — Lexi Mayhood 4-5, Cody Rogers 2-5, MacKenzie Mayhood 2-4, Kendyl Boltz 3-4, Kylee Koch 1-4, Ashley Costello 0-4, Erin Watterud 2-4, Kelly Brotzel 0-0, Brittney Hutchinson 1-3, Bailey Scott 3-4.
Extra-base hits — 2B — Spear, Boltz, Scott 2, L. Mayhood, M. Mayhood, Hutchinson. HR — L. Mayhood.
Runs batted in — Billings West 14 (L. Mayhood 6, Boltz 3, Scott 3, Rogers 1, M. Mayhood 1), Butte High 5 (Spear 2, McLean 1, Walker 1, Walks 1).