First-place Falcons soar over Maroons

By Bruce Sayler
First-place Florence was a tough draw for Butte Central to play in its last home baseball game of the high school season.
The talented, veteran Falcons rolled up a 16-2 conference victory over the Maroons Saturday at 3 Legends Stadium, on Miners Field in the Copper Mountain Sports and Recreation Park.
The BC team honored its three seniors – Jake Tauscher, Greyson Gillis and Canyon Kibler in a ceremony with members of their families after the game. Head coach Richie O’Brien started all three in the lineup with Tauscher the regular shortstop while Gillis began the game at second base and Kibler at third.
“They hit the ball well, they have pitching for days and they don’t make a lot of mistakes,” O’Brien said about the Falcons. “But, I’m really happy with our young team. (The Falcons) closed it out on us in three innings in Florence (earlier in the season) and we made them go the distance today. I’m proud of that.”
Florence banged out a dozen hits, including a home run by junior right fielder Isaiah Testerman, a double by sophomore third baseman Chase Wagner and a triple by junior catcher Drew Wagner. Testerman drove in four runs with three hits and pitched the seventh inning in relief of senior Cole Fray-Parmantier. They held Butte Central to three singles – by Tauscher, sophomore reliever Kelton Berger and junior right fielder Coy Campbell – struck out eight Maroons and walked three. Seven of the strikeouts were Fray-Parmantier’s, as were the three walks in his six innings on the bump.
The Falcons grouped their runs. They tallied five runs in both the third and seventh innings, and put up four in the fourth. They began with a two-run first, the runs scoring before an official at-bat was registered. Drew Wagner led off and was hit by a pitch, junior right fielder Mason Arlington worked a walk, the runners advanced on steals until Chase Wagner brought the other Wagner home with a sacrifice fly. Senior shortstop Jake Roth followed with another sac fly as Arlington scored.
“If we take away one or two of their big innings, it’s not so bad,” O’Brien said. “Some of it is our own fault. We let them get on base and run wild.”
Small eighth-grader Beau McGree was behind the plate, subbing for freshman regular Gunnar O’Brien, son of the coach and who is healing a leg injury.
“Once Beau get his arm stronger, people around the state won’t be talking about how little he is anymore,” O’Brien said. “They’ll be talking about how good he is.
“Right now, they might get to second and third on him, but they don’t get home. He takes care of the plate.”
The Florence third inning featured Testerman’s two-run homer over the left-field fence. The Maroons hurt themselves with three errors in the inning. Drew Wagner had led off with his triple and came home on a groundout. Another run scored on an error and the fifth on senior Trapper Oster’s sacrifice fly.
The bottom of the inning saw the two BC runs go up on the board. Eighth-grader second baseman Treigh Hollow was hit by a pitch to start the surge. He scored an out later on a double by Tauscher into the left-center gap. Tauscher stole third base and continued home on a throwing error.
The Falcons hit their fourth of five sacrifice flies of the game in the fourth inning, this one by sophomore second baseman Levi Winters. They tallied three other runs in the inning on an RBI groundout by Testerman and a two-run single by Drew Wagner.
They led 11-2 then and finished with a five-run seventh for their final victory margin. Drew Wagner led off getting hit by a pitch, took second on an errant pickoff try and scored on a base hit by Arlington. Chase Wagner doubled Arlington home with a burner that traced the third baseline into the outfield. Testerman’s infield hit knocked in another run after Roth was hit by a pitch. Another errant throw let Roth score. The final run scored on an eventual double play – Wes Potter out on a flyball to center with one out, Testerman tagging and breaking for home from third base after the catch, scoring before a relay throw was able to double up Winters off first base.
O’Brien said his son is nearly ready to return to the lineup, but wants him to be at 100 percent for coming games against Stevensville and East Helena.
“I think we have winnable games coming up and want to try to finish the season on a high note and start getting ready for next year,” O’Brien said. “We lose a senior starter, but we’re deep in the infield. I want to win right now for the seniors. They’re a bunch of great kids, but the future looks bright.”
Florence 205 400 5 – 16 12 2
Butte Central 002 000 0 — 2 3 5
Cole Fray-Parmantier, Isaiah Testerman (7) and Drew Wagner. Jack Nagle, Kelton Berger (4) and Beau McGree. W – Fray-Parmantier. L – Nagle.
FLORENCE (15-1) – Drew Wagner 2-2, Mason Arlington 1-4, Chase Wagner 2-4, Jake Roth 0-2, Isaiah Testerman 3-4, Levi Winters 2-3, Caleb Katen 1-5, Cole Fray-Parmantier 1-3, Wes Potter 0-0, Trapper Oster 0-2.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-11) – Greyson Gillis 0-1, Treigh Hollow 0-2, Marquis Abad 0-3, Jake Tauscher 1-3, Canyon Kibler 0-1, Colt Hassler 0-2, Aiden Ossello 0-3, Kelton Keane 0-1, Jack Nagle 0-0, Kelton Berger 1-2, Coy Campbell 1-3, Beau McGree 0-2.
Extra-base hits – 2B – C. Wagner. 3B – D. Wagner. HR – Testerman.
Runs batted in – Florence 14 (Testerman 4, D. Wagner 2, Arlington 2, C. Wagner 2, Roth 1, Winters 1, Oster 1, Potter 1), Butte Central 1 (Tauscher).