Defending champions send Maroons to loser’s bracket

ANACONDA — The great Morgan Ray lived up to her reputation and then some Thursday afternoon.

The future Ohio State Buckeye belted two two-run home runs and held Butte Central to two hits as the two-time defending State-champion Frenchtown Broncs beat the Maroons 10-0 in the second round of the Class A State softball tournament.

The loss came after the Maroons came from behind to beat Livingston 4-3 in the opener. BC will play Laurel in a 9 a.m. loser-out game on Friday. Bracket

“They’re intimidated by her,” BC coach Kelci Thatcher said, referring to Ray, who struck out nine batters in five innings. “From our game before to this game, it’s kind of a different ball club. We didn’t show as much aggressiveness or confidence going up to the plate. It’s kind of like we walked in beat.”

The game, which was called after five innings by the 10-run rule, included a 2 hour, 6 minute delay because of lightning and rain. It was played on two fields at the Charlotte Yeoman-Martin Complex, starting on Field No. 1.

After the delay, the game was moved to Field No. 2 after a group of volunteers worked ferociously to get that field ready for play.

Things were looking up for the Maroons when Mollie Peoples reached on a two-out single in the top of the first inning.

Ray, though, got out of the inning with a strike out. Then, she got the Broncs offense with the first of her no-doubt home runs with one out in the bottom of the first.

The blast to left field scored Emma Pyron, who reached on a single to center.

The next Frenchtown blow was delivered by catcher Brooke Yarnall. She hit an absolute bomb over left-center field for a three-run home run to make it a 5-0 game with two out in the top of the second inning.

As soon as she touched home plate, the game went into a lightning delay. After about a half hour waiting for the lightning to pass, the heady ran set in, making a mess out of all four fields.

Frenchtown added two more runs in the second inning when the game resumed.

The Broncs made it 10-0 with three more in the third. After Yarnall hit an RBI single to score Megan Delaney, Ray hit a moon shot over the center-field fence for her second two-run home run of the game.

“They’re a great team —without a doubt — offensively and defensively,” Thatcher said.

The Maroons pulled junior pitcher McKenzie Gallagher after the second home run. Thatcher praised the play of her pitcher for battling against a monster lineup.

“Kenz struggled a little bit, but she’s a trooper, man,” the coach said. “She did a great job, I thought.”

Taylor Wahl hustled down the line to beat out an infield single in the fifth inning for the Maroons only other hit. Ray, though, got the next three batters to go down swinging to end the game.

Shortstop Kloie Thatcher and Peoples, the first baseman, made stand-out defensive plays for the Maroons in the loss.

Ray, who had three hits, and Yarnall each drove in four runs. Yarnall and Haley Cyr each smacked two hits.

Coach Thatcher said she has no doubt her team will respond in Friday’s loser-out action. The Maroons need three wins Friday to make it to Saturday’s play.

“We battled. That’s a tough team,” Thatcher said. “We have to regroup, bounce back and get ready for tomorrow.”

Butte Central            000      00 — 0  2 1
Frenchtown               253      0x — 10 12 0

McKenzie Gallagher, Teresa Piazzola (3) and Corbyn Holm; Morgan Ray and Brooke Yarnall. W — Ray. L — Gallagher (6-10).
BUTTE CENTRAL (15-10) — Kloie Thatcher 0-2, Emily St. John 0-2, Mollie Peoples 1-2, Holm 0-2, Taylor Wahl 1-2, Piazzola 0-2, Kassidy Criscuolo 0-2, Megan Michelotti 0-2, Shawnee Hjelt 0-1, Gallagher 0-0.
FRENCHTOWN — Emma Pyron 1-2, Yarnall 2-3, Carley Thompson 0-0, Ray 3-3, Krista Hebnes 1-3, Jordan Cole 0-0,Haley Cur 2-2, Shelby Shourds 1-3, Laci Willett 1-3, Megan Delaney 102, Taylor Rockwood 0-2.
HR — Ray 2, Yarnall. RBIs — Ray 4, Yarnall 4, Cyr.

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