The 11-1 Butte Central victory over Lewistown Saturday capped a successful 3-1 two-day showing for the Maroons at their own LaVerne Combo Invitational high school girls’ softball tournament.
All of the BC games were played at Stodden Park and the win in the last round of games finished a 12-8 regular season. Butte Central will be the No. 1 seed in the Southwestern A Divisional tournament next weekend in Hamilton.
The Maroons played well together. All of them had a noticeable hand in the win over the Eagles, highlighted by freshman Cassidy Criscuolo’s first career home run and sophomore Mollie Peoples’ two doubles and two runs battted in.
Juniors Teresa Piazzola and McKenzie Gallagher shared the pitching duties and the Eagles seemed frustrated throughout. They were no-hit until Jessica Gapay led off the third inning with a seeing-eye single that stitched its way through the right side of the infield.
“That was the game we were looking for,” BC head coach Kelci Thatcher said, alluding mostly to the team’s dozen hits, half of which traveled for extra bases. Teresa pitched great, I thought, and then Gallagher came in and did what she does so well to help us win.
“Mollie had a big game, Emily (St. John) made a great catch (in center field) and (shortstop) Kloie (Thatcher) took some more hits away from the opponent.”
The try in the BC girls showed up a lot in the Saturday tilt. Nothing Lewistown attempted went uncontested. Pitches were attacked, hits were challenged with lunges and dives, and batters were dared. Butte Central made sure nothing came easy for the Eagles.
“The girls are trusting each other and backing each other up,” Kelci Thatcher said. “We had great intensity.”
Kloie Thatcher, Piazzola and Megan Michelotti belted doubles to go with Peoples’ pair of two-baggers and Criscuolo’s home run in the Maroons’ extra-base barrage. Neither Lewistown pitcher, Kinsey Irvin or Carley Carpenter, had much luck quieting BC’s bat women.
It started early. Butte Central clouted three of its doubles in the first inning — Thatcher to start the attack, Peoples with one after Thatcher scored on a wild pitch and then one by Piazzola after Peoples advanced to third and home on wild pitches.
Michelotti led off the Maroons’ third inning with a walk and rode home on Criscuolo’s drive over the left-field fence.
“She’s having a really big year for us,” coach Thatcher said. “Our freshmen have done a great job stepping in for the seniors we lost (off last year’s team).”
Kloie Thatcher whacked a one-out single and St. John drew a walk. Peoples knocked them both home with a double into the left-center gap and BC held a 6-0 advantage two innings into the game.
The Eagles scored their only run in the fourth, managing just one run despite four hits in the inning. Gracia Butler beat out an infield hit. One-out later, Paige Towne doubled and Butler stumbled rounding third base. She was caught in a rundown with catcher Corbyn Holm applying the tag for the second out. Towne reached second base on the play and scored moments later when Nora Weichel’s infield hit was fielded, but thrown away. Irvin poked a base hit to left field, but Gapay popped out to the infield as Piazzola worked out of the inning.
Butte Central responded with two runs in its half of the frame. Thatcher and St. John reached base on a walk and a bunt single. Two groundouts scored one run, Taylor Wahl producing the RBI, and Piazzola drove in the other with a single to center.
The Maroons took an 8-1 lead into the sixth inning and ended the game there on the 10-run difference rule by scoring three times. Michelotti started off with a ground-rule double and Criscuolo singled. Gallagher worked a walk to load the bases. Thatcher was out on the infield fly rule as a popup was dropped. The error, though, allowed Michelotti to come home. Criscuolo then raced home on a passed ball and St. John ended the game with a single to center that drove in Gallagher.
“This was our sixth game in a week and with a small team, you worry about them getting tired,” coach Thatcher said. “But this (success) is all of their making, and they’re taking it and running with it.”
Lewistown 000 10x x — 1 6 1
Butte Central 240 23x x — 11 12 1
Kinsey Irvin, Carley Carpenter (3), Irvin (4) and Abby Gremaux. Teresa Piazzola, McKenzie Gallagher (5) and Corbyn Holm. W — Piazzola. L — Irvin.
LEWISTOWN — Hannah Hayes 0-3, Gracia Butler 2-3, Mikayla Comes 0-3, Paige Towne 1-2, Nora Weichel 1-2, Kinsey Irvin 1-2, Carley Carpenter 0-0, Jessica Gapay 1-2, Abby Gremaux 0-1, Dani Gapay 0-1.
BUTTE CENTRAL (12-8) — Kloie Thatcher 2-3, Emily St. John 2-3, Mollie Peoples 2-3, Taylor Wahl 0-3, Teresa Piazzola 2-3, Corbyn Holm 1-3, Megan Michelotti 1-2, Cassidy Criscuolo 2-3, McKenzie Gallagher 0-2.
Extra-base hits — 2B — Towne, Thatcher, Peoples 2, Piazzola, Michelotti. HR — Criscuolo.
Runs batted in — Lewistown 0, Butte Central 7 (Peoples 2, Criscuolo 2, St. John 1, Wahl 1, Piazzola 1). 1 comment