Butte Central’s softball team is 3-0 in Southwestern A play after a pair of wins over Hamilton and Corvallis Saturday at a windy Stodden Park.
“It’s a great start,” BC coach Kelci Thatcher said.
Behind an 11-strikeout performance by Teresa Piazzola, the Maroons beat Hamilton 8-4 on Field No. 2. Fellow McKenzie Gallagher led the Maroons in the second game, a 12-2 victory over the Blue Devils.
Gallagher struck out seven batters and blasted a three-run home run in the win, which was called by the mercy rule after six innings.
Gallagher’s home run went over center field into a sever crosswind.
“That just speaks volumes about that girl,” Thatcher said of Gallagher. “She’s a competitor.”
Freshman Kloie Thatcher homered in the first game. She joined sophomore Taylor Wahl with a four-hit day.
Wahl reached base and scored on all of her seven plate appearances over the three games.
“She went to the plate with a lot of confidence and was aggressive,” Thatcher said.
The Maroons pounded 22 hits on the day.
“Overall I’m happy,” Kelci Thatcher said. “We put the ball in play a lot.”
The coach said her team lost some intensity before the second game. The Maroons waited nearly two hours after their first win before playing Corvallis, which played in Anaconda earlier in the day.
“It’s hard to come off a big win, have a break in between and get it going again,” Thatcher said. “But they battled.”
The Maroons, who are 3-2 overall, are back in action Thursday when they travel to Dillon. They play host to Anaconda on Friday.
Butte Central 8, Hamilton 4
Piazzola, who is still finding her groove after last year’s back injury, opened the game by beaning leadoff hitter Caitlin Dillon.
Dillon came around to score on a wild pitch.
The BC ace, though, got out of a first-inning jam and stranded two runners in scoring position by striking out Rachel Ringer and Kelsei Meis to end the inning.
It didn’t take long for the BC bats to back up the pitcher.
Emily St. John and Mollie Peoples worked walks and moved up a base on a ground out by catcher Corbyn Holm. They both scored when Thatcher drilled a solid single to right-center.
The Maroons added two runs in the second inning. Piazzola singled and Wahl walked to get the inning started.
Courtesy runner Kassidy Criscuolo scored on a Megan Michelotti groundout. Gallagher followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice. On the play, Wahl was caught in a pickle between third an home. She escaped and dove home safely for the fourth run.
Wahl singled and scored on a Michelotti double to make it 5-1 in the fourth.
The Maroons broke the game open with three runs in the sixth.
Thatcher led off with a solo home run to center field. Piazzola, who walked, and Wahl, who singled, scored on wild pitches.
Hamilton used singles by Dillon, McKayl Rothie and Ringer in the seventh to score three runs, but it was too late.
Piazzola struck out six swinging and got five looking. She walked five.
St. John, the right fielder, highlighted a solid defensive effort by the BC outfield, which saw Gallagher in left and Thatcher in center.
St. John made a nice running catch to rob Taylor Goligoski of extra bases in the third. She gunned down Ringer trying to get back to first for the double play.
Hamilton 100 000 3 — 4 7 0
Butte Central 220 103 x — 8 7 0
Sky Lopez and Kelsie Meis; Teresa Piazzola and Corbyn Holm. W — Piazzola (2-1). L — Lopez.
HAMILTON — Caitlin Dillon 1-3, McKayl Rothie 2-3, Taylor Goligoski 1-3, Rachel Ringer 2-4, Shaylan Mohn 0-3, Meis 1-3, Hayley Hudgins 0-2, Lopez 0-1, Kloie Nye 0-3, Mallory McGill 0-0.
BUTTE CENTRAL (2-2, 2-0) — Shawnee Hjelt 1-3, Emily St. John 0-3, Mollie Peoples 0-2, Holm 0-3, Kloie Thatcher 2-3, Piazzola 1-2, Kassidy Criscuolo 0-0, Taylor Wahl 2-2, Megan Michelotti 1-3, McKenzie Gallagher 0-3.
HR — Thatcher. 2B — Rothie, Ringer, Meis; Michelotti. RBIs — Rothie, Ringer; Thatcher 3, Michelotti 2.
Butte Central 12, Corvallis 2 (6 innings)
The Maroon outfield was solid in the second game as well. It had to be with the winds gusting at ridiculous proportions, especially early in the game.
Thatcher was flanked by St. John and Criscuolo in the nightcap, and the trio only had one miscue in the tough conditions.
“The outfield, I just can’t say enough about them,” Kelci Thatcher said. “They had a phenomenal game. They are so athletic. They saved us a lot of runs.”
The Corvallis outfield didn’t handle the conditions nearly as well.
Leadoff hitter Shawnee Hjelt got the Maroons stared by blasting a high fly to right field. The fielder missed the ball by a ways, and Hjelt coasted into second for a double. She scored on a Peoples groundout to put the Maroons up for good.
St. John made it 3-0 with a two-run single in the second, scoring Wahl and Gallagher. Wahl singled, while Gallagher reached on a fielder’s choice.
Holm, Piazzola, Wahl and Desaray Blunt hit four straight singles with two out in the third. Holm scored on Wahl’s hit, and Blunt drove in Piazzola.
Wahl and Blunt got to walk home when Gallagher followed with her home run to center.
Centrl took advantage of two Corvallis errors to extend the lead to 10-2 in the fifth. Gallagher put the game away in the sixth.
Thatcher reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch. Then Wahl reached on a two-out walk and took second on a Michelotti single.
Wahl scored to end the game by the 10-run rule when Gallagher roped a single to right.
Corvallis 000 110 — 2 3 4
Butte Central 125 022 — 12 15 3
Taylor Gagnon and Taia Tully; Gallagher and Holm. W — Gallagher (1-1). L — Gagnon.
CORVALLIS — Tully 1-3, Kenley Fields 0-2, Celina Shepherd 0-1, Hannah Brown 0-3, Gagnon 2-3, Mikah Walker 0-0, Bobbie Stephen 0-3, Kambrey Powell 0-3, Kira Doyle 0-1, Sydonia Curtis 0-2, Megan Jessop 0-2, Braydin Golden 0-0.
BUTTE CENTRAL (3-2, 3-0) — Hjelt 1-3, St. John 1-2, Hannah Williams 0-2, Peoples 0-3, Thatcher 2-4, Hom 2-4, Kara Barnett 0-0, Piazzola 2-2, Criscuolo 0-2, Wahl 2-2, Desaray Blunt 1-2, Michelotti 1-2, Gallagher 2-4.
HR — Gallagher. 2B — Tully; Hjelt. RBIs — Tulley; Gallagher 4, St. John 2, Peoples, Wahl, Blunt.