Huff unloads three HRs as Bulldogs launch season

Huff unloads three HRs as Bulldogs launch season

MISSOULA — The first day in the sunshine was a pleasant one for the Butte High softball team as it ventured outdoors Saturday for its spring debut.

Senior fourth-year starters Taylor Huff and Brittney Tierney led the Bulldogs to an undefeated day in a mini-jamboree competition Missoula Sentinel played host to on the Playfair Park diamonds. Games were held to four innings or less, depending on  time limits, and Butte High posted wins of 6-4 over Sentinel and 4-1 over Helena High and tied Helena Capital 2-all n its first action of the season.

Huff’s day included a 5-for-6 performance at the plate with three home runs and a double for 15 total bases in three games. The shortstop led Class AA in home runs and runs batted in last year but was not rewarded with an All-State selection.

Tierney, the third baseman, collected three hits and three RBIs, and made some outstanding plays in the field, Ryan Stosich, fifth-year head coach of the Bulldogs, said.

The competition was arranged after the scheduled Great Falls Jamboree was canceled because of inclement weather and unplayable grounds. Teams all over the state have been scrambling in the wintry weather conditions to begin their spring sports seasons.

As it turned out, Stosich liked how the Bulldogs’ season began.

“Overall, it was a pretty good day seeing our kids (play) for the first time (this year),” Stosich said. “Our defense played well with only one error all day. McCaul (McCarthy) had a great day keeping the opposing batters off balance and changing their eye level.”

McCarthy, a sophomore, is taking over the No. 1 pitching duties this season. Going by Saturday’s results, the position is in good hands as backup Maddie Skeel also pitched well.

“Taylor Huff homered in every game,” Stosich said. “Two were of 300 feet-plus and drew ahhhs from the people in the stands. So, our hitters did well, too, and it seems like our pitching was good. Overall, it was a pretty good day.”

The 2-all tie with Capital saw McCarthy and Skeel both work, McCarthy striking out three batters. Huff knocked in both Butte High runs with her homer. Tierney drew a walk.

MacKenzie Siegers and Lexi McNew drove in Capital’s runs. Nicole Ames pitched for the Bruins.

Maire Ingersoll and Huff collected two hits each, and Tierney drilled another as Butte High topped Sentinel.

Huff knocked in three of the runs and Tierney drove in two. McCarthy and Skeel both pitched. 

Ingersoll, a junior, played in right field and had what Stosich described as a “nice day” with her hits and “nice defensive catches.”

Tierney, Huff and sophomore catcher Dylan Duffy plated the runs in the Bulldogs’ 4-1 victory over Helena High. Skeel struck out four batters in hurling 3 ⅓  innings and McCarthy K’d two in her two-thirds of an inning. Tierney and freshman second baseman Kodie Hoagland were both credited with two quality at-bats with Hoagland working a walk.

Tyleigh Burchard pitched for Helena High.

Duffy caught one game for Butte High and junior Trisha Ericson was behind the plate for two contests. Ericson was the startling left fielder last year. Stosich said both were good at catcher Saturday and also lauded the play of sophomore center fielder MacKenzie Tutty. With eight seniors graduated from last year’s Bulldogs, many positions are open and the competition seems to be intense.

“Everybody got in for an inning or two,” Stosich said about Saturday’s mini-jamboree experience. “I was really happy with our two young pitchers, and Hoagland did well at second base. Huff had a great day and Tierney, you know what you’re going to get out of her play every day.”

What the Bulldogs will do next for games is somewhat up in the air because of the late-staying snow. The slow melt is creating a slow burn with all those involved in spring sports.

The scheduled Tuesday game with Missoula Big Sky that was supposed to serve as Butte High’s home opener is postponed, at least, for now, and Thursday’s scheduled home game with Belgrade is likely to be called off, too, Stosich said.

“But, anything can happen,” he qualified.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs are slated to play the Helena schools in Helena. It was first planned to be a competition in Bozeman, but Bozeman is also having deep snow issues. So, the four teams involved will vie in Helena, instead, Stosich said.


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