Maroons outlast Broncs

Maroons outlast Broncs
Butte Central's Kloie Thatcher steals third base, sliding in safely ahead of the tag by Hamilton third baseamn Sophia Doyle Saturday at Stodden Park. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

Hamilton had cut Butte Central’s lead in half to 4-2, and the Broncs were starting to show signs of getting to Maroon ace Teresa Piazzola Saturday afternoon at Stodden Park.

Just when the momentum was about to swing the other way, BC junior second baseman Taylor Wahl stepped into the box to lead off the sixth inning.

Wahl, who was robbed of a home run by Hamilton left fielder Kloie Nye in the first inning, hit a moon shot that easily cleared the fence in left field to extend the Maroons’ lead to 5-2.

The blast started a four-run sixth inning that proved to be the difference in a crucial 8-4 Southwestern A game.

The Maroons (9-2 overall and 5-0 in conference) can clinch the league title and the No. 1 seed at the Class A State tournament with a win over Corvallis later Saturday. That game was scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

“Taylor Wahl is a stud because she never loses her focus throughout the home game,” BC coach Kelci Thatcher said. “She’s just a competitor, and she’s always aware of what’s going on offensively and defensively.”


Kassidy Crisuolo followed Wahl’s home run with her second single of the day before McKenzie Gallagher was hit by a pitch.

With the infield in, Kloie Thatcher found a hole through the left side to score Criscuolo. On the play Gallagher scored on an error. Shawnee Hjelt added a deep sacrifice fly to score Thatcher to cap the scoring.

“That was a game changer right there for us,” coach Thatcher said of the four-run sixth. “It was huge.”

The Maroons needed the cushion because the Broncs weren’t going away quietly.

Rachel Richardson led off the top of the seventh inning with a double. She scored on a single by Brooke Huxtable before Tessa Della Silva followed with a double and Sophie Doyle reached on a nine-pitch walk.

Piazzola, who struck out nine batters through the first four innings, buckled down to fan the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters, Nye and Caitlin Dillon.

No. 3 hitter, Rachael Ringer, who belted a double in the fourth, reached on an infield hit, sliding head first into first base to score Huxtable.

Kloie Thatcher, though, ended the game by making a nice play at short and throwing to third to nail Doyle for the final out.

“They battled, and they found a way to make those outs and get out of there with a win,” coach Thatcher said.

Thatcher and Hjelt drew walks to lead off the game. Both came home to score to put the Maroons up 2-0. Thatcher scored on a wild pitch, while Hjelt scored when Piazzola drilled a two-out single to left.

The Maroons would have led 4-0 when Wahl sent a shot deep to left. Nye, though crashed into the fence to snag what would have surely been a home run.

BC extended the lead to 4-0 with two in the fifth.

Gallagher struck out but reached on a wild pitch to start the inning. After Gallagher took second on an illegal pitch, Michelotti doubled her in. Michelotti ended up scoring on an error after Thatcher grounded out to short stop

The Broncs cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth. Nye and Dillon led off with singles. Nye scored on a Mallory McGill ground out before Dillon stole home.

Kelsie Mies, who walked on eight pitches, was thrown out in a run down as McGill stole home to end the inning.

Then Wahl turned the momentum back to BC.

Piazzola struck out 12 batters to improve to 8-1 on the season. She threw 132 pitches, with 53 coming in the final two innings.

“You could tell she was tired there at the end. I think she lost a little bit off her ball,” coach Thatcher said of her ace. “She found a way and battled and got us out of there.”

The Maroons did their damage on eight hits. Catcher Corbyn Holm added a double, and all nine BC batters reached.

Hamilton                   000      002      2 — 4  7  2
Butte Central             200      025      x — 8  8  0

Jorden Taggart and Kelsie Meis; Teresa Piazzola and Corbyn Holm. W — Piazzola (8-1). L — Taggart.
HAMILTON — Kloie Nye 1-4, Caitlin Dillon 1-3, Rachael Ringer 2-4, Mallory McGill 0-4 Meis 0-2 Rachel Richardson 1-2, Brooke Huxtable 1-2, Tessa Della Silva 1-3, Sophia Doyle 0-2.
BUTTE CENTRAL (9-2, 5-0) — Kloie Thatcher 1-2, Shawnee Hjelt 1-2, Mollie Peoples 0-3, Holm 1-3, Piazzola 1-3, Taylor Wahl 1-3, Kassidy Criscuolo 2-3, McKenzie Gallagher 0-1, Megan Michelotti 1-3.
HR — Wahl. 2B — Ringer, Richardson, Della Silva; Holm, Michelotti. RBIs — McGill, Huxtable; Wahl, Piazzola, Michelotti, Thatcher, Hjelt.

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