EAST HELENA — It turns out the Maroons were ready for prime time players.
With the lights shining bright Tuesday night, Butte Central’s softball team knocked off East Helena 9-3 for a key Southwestern A victory.
The win gives the Maroons a major boost in the race for a Class A State tournament berth.
Sofee Thatcher struck out 13 Vigilantes and walked three to pick up the victory. She also tripled in a 2-for-4 effort to drive in three runs to help lead BC’s 12-hit attack.
Brooke Badovinac went 2 for 4 with a double and joined Thatcher with three RBIs. Mia Keeley tripled, while Jaeden Berger and Brenna Foley each poked two singles in the win. Hattie Mehring, Renee Creekmore and Cloe Stillwagon also singled for BC, which won for the sixth time in eight games.
Maggie Stimatz and Focus Arunklinsukhon also contributed for the Maroons, who improved to 5-6 in conference and 7-10 overall.
Central jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Keeley drew a walk and scored on a Berger single.
After the Vigilantes took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, BC responded with three runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead for good. Thatcher’s triple knocked in Stillwagon, who reached on an error, and Mehring, who walked.
Thatcher scored when Badovinac followed with a double.
The Maroons blew the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh inning. Badovinac hit a two-run single, while Keeley hit a run-scoring three bagger. Thatcher and Berger hit RBI singles in the frame.
Belle Surginer tripled to lead the Vigilantes, who got just four hits off Thatcher.
The win avenged BC’s 6-3 loss to East Helena April 26 in Butte.
Central will close the regular season Friday with a 4 p.m. game against Stevensville at Stodden Park. BC will celebrate Senior Day.
Butte Central 010 030 5 — 9 12 1
East Helena 000 200 1 — 3 4 2
Sofee Thatcher and Mia Keeley; Belle Surginer and Ella Pickett. W — Thatcher. L — Keeley.
BUTTE CENTRAL (5-6, 7-10) — Hattie Mehring 1-3, Thatcher 2-4, Brooke Badovinac 2-4, Keeley 1-3, Jaeden Berger 2-2, Brenna Foley 2-3, Renee Creekmore 1-4 Focus Arunklinsukhon 0-2, Maggie Stimatz 0-2, Cloe Stillwagon 1-4.
EAST HELENA — Rilie Stephenson 1-4, Surginer 1-3, Pickett 0-3, Nieva George 0-2, Kelcie Sargent 0-2, Taylor Field 1-3, Franco 0-0, Kaitlyn McGorver 0-2, Smith 1-3, Maddie Hogue 00-0.
3B — Thatcher, Keeley; Suginer. 2B — Badovinac. RBIs — Thatcher 3, Badovinac 3, Berger 2, Keeley; Smith.