Locomotives blow past Maroons

The Locomotives figured one game was enough Saturday, and nobody could blame them.

Laurel used a four-run sixth inning to power past Butte Central 7-5 at a windy and frigid Copper Mountain Park. Then Laurel decided to call off the second game of the doubleheader and the junior varsity game.

It was that cold.

Laurel’s rally was interrupted by a half-hour delay because of snow, and neither team could get comfortable at the plate or in the field.

“I’m a little disappointed that we weren’t able to execute,” Butte Central coach Kelci Thatcher said after her team fell to 2-1 with the non-conference loss. “We missed signals, we couldn’t lay down a bunt, and that’s huge. I’m a little discouraged about that, but I know we can fix it.”

The Maroons still had a chance to pull it out, though. Butte Central rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to bring up the tying runner.

BC first baseman Aleesha LaBreche smashed a hard shot down toward left field. Laurel third baseman Hailey Spitzer, though, made a nice play to stop the ball and throw LaBreche out at first.

The late rally included a wind-blown RBI single by Taylor Marthaller to score Hannah Stajcar. Catcher Shannon McLaughlin singled and scored on a wild pitch.

The big hit of the game came from Laurel pitcher Brianne Jones, who struck out six batters in the victory. On the third pitch after the snow delay, Jones found a hole in the gap in right-center field for a two-run double to make it a 7-3 Locomotive lead.

Spitzer drew a bases-loaded walk and Katie Williams drove in a run with a ground out to second before time was called, sending Laurel to the team bus to stay warm.

“It was pretty tough,” Thatcher said of the weather conditions. “You think you’re underneath the ball and all of a sudden it tail ends. That’s tough, but it’s not the first time we played up here. You’ve got to adjust. I feel like we didn’t adjust as well as we could have.”

After BC pitcher Teresa Piazzola struck out the side in order in the first inning, the Locomotives put up a three spot in the second inning.

The biggest shot of the inning came from Katie Williams, who followed Spitzer’s RBI single with a two-run triple. Williams tried to score from home on an over throw to third, but BC third baseman Katie Hogart recovered the ball and threw a perfect strike to McLaughlin to nail Williams at the plate.

That saved a run because the next batter, Jones, saw a harmless pop fly turn into a ground-rule double thanks to the gusting wind.

The Maroons answered, scoring three in the third. McLaughlin followed a single by Danika Neumann with a ground-rule double. Neumann and Shawnee Hjelt, the courtesy runner from McLaughlin, scored on a single by Hogart. Hogart scored on a single by Taylor Marthaller.

Jones, though, rebounded to keep the Maroons off the board again until the seventh.

McLaughlin belted three hits on the day, while Neumann and Marthaller each belted two. Piazzola added one.

Piazzola also struck out eight in the loss. She walked five.

“She did great,” Thatcher said. “It was a good game for her.”

The coach said she was pleased that her team went down fighting.

“I feel like we didn’t give up,” Thatcher said. “I’m proud of the girls for that. We’ve got to get back to work on Monday.”

Butte Central is back in action Thursday when they play host to Livingston in a non-conference game.

“We just have to get better every game and every practice from here on out,” Thatcher said.

Laurel               030   004   0 — 7    6  4
Butte Central 003   000   2 — 5  10  2

Brianna Jones and Kayla Hallock; Teresa Piazzola and Shannon McLaughlin. W — Jones. L — Piazzola (2-1).
LAUREL — Maurissa Gunn 0-4, Kylie Goodson 1-4, Paige Hodges 0-3, Hallock 1-3, Meghan Knust 0-0, Emily Smarsh 0-1, Hailey Spitzer 1-2, Katie Williams 1-3, Jones 2-3, Kaylee Womack 0-3.
BUTTE CENTRAL (2-1) — Danika Neumann 2-4, Hannah Stajcar 1-4, McLaughlin 3-4, Kate Ossello 0-0, Katie Hogart 1-4, Taylor Marthaller 2-3, Aleesha LaBreche 0-4, Shawnee Hjelt 0-0, Mikayla Boggs 0-3, Piazzola 1-3, Aiden Dennehy 0-0, Shelby Paffhausen 0-3.
3B — Williams. 2B — Jones 2; McLaughlin. RBIs — Williams 3, Jones 2, Spitzer 2; Hogart 2, Marthaller.

BC third baseman Katie Hogart, second baseman Hannah Stajcar and right fielder Mikayla Boggs get read as a pitch is delivered.
Butte Central left fielder settles in on third base during BC’s three-run third inning.
BC’s Teresa Piazzola delivers a pitch.
BC coach Kelci Thatcher fires up her team before a seventh-inning rally.