Maroons storm back to knock off Beavers, 7-3

The pitchers were hitters and the hitters were pitchers for Butte Central Wednesday as the Maroons avenged a previous loss to Dillon with a 7-3 comeback victory over the Beavers in Southwestern A Conference high school girls’ softball play at Stodden Park.
McKenzie Gallagher and Teresa Piazzola teamed on a seven-hitter with Gallagher pitching the first four innings to gain the win and Piazzola firing one-hit ball over the final three frames for the save.
They each clubbed a home run, too, as Gallagher blasted a three-run shot over left field in the bottom of the fourth inning to put her team ahead, and Piazzola hit a one-out fly ball just over the right-field fence in the last of the sixth.
The game was played in wind, rain and snow under chilly temperatures. It was a makeup of a contest postponed from Tuesday when the weather was even worse.
An errorless defense that turned two double plays backed the pitching performances of Gallagher and Piazzola. The defense and pitching bought time for the offense to wipe out a 3-0 lead Dillon had staked out in the second frame.
“It feels like their we’re clicking on all cylinders,” Butte Central head coach Kelci Thatcher said. “It was good that Teresa came back and contributed. She’s a good bat to have in there, and she and Kenzie Gallagher work so well together pitching. We’re a lot stronger team with Teresa.”
Piazzola has missed some time with injuries, which have limited the pitching ace’s time in the circle. Using her only a few innings per game might be a way to combat the problem, for now.
“And it keep the opposing batters off-balance,” the coach said. “Kenzie does a great job and hits her spots so well. Then, Teresa comes in and throws so hard.”
Dillon scored all three of its runs in the top of the second inning. Lauran Holtan powered a monster solo home run over the left-field fence to lead off the inning. Bailey Berriochoa then drew a walk and went to third on a single by Kimee Hritsco-Murray. Adrianna Pittman singled Berriochoa home. After a strikeout, Halie Montgomery grounded out to shortstop Kloie Thatcher, but Hritsco-Murray scored from third base. Pittman was then out at third on the throw back across the diamond to Megan Michelotti from first baseman Mollie Peoples.
The Maroons started their fourth-inning with bases-loading walks to Taylor Wall, Corbyn Holm and Emily St. John. Wahl scored and the other two moved up a bag on a wild pitch. A walk to Piazzola refilled the bags and brought Holtan in from left field to relieve Berriochoa at pitcher.
Michelotti’s flyball was caught by Beaver second baseman Erica Rude for the first out and she then threw to Hristco-Murray at third base to double a pinch runner off for the second out. Gallagher, however, cashed in the Maroons’ threat with her homer tucked just inside the pole with St. John and Piazzola aboard.
Gallagher threw one pitch in the fifth before turning the game over to Piazzola.
Butte Central plated its last three runs in the sixth, starting with Piazzola’s round-tripper. Michelotti then reached on a slow dribbler toward first base, took second on a passed ball, stole third and continued home when the throw went past the unmanned bag and into left field. Gallagher walked and reached second on the throw into left field, then scored on a base hit by Kloie Thatcher.
Piazzola then finished Dillon off in order in the seventh by striking out the first batter, stabbing a liner ripped by the second and retiring the third on an infield fly.
Coach Thatcher pointed to the play of Michelotti as to being particularly important as the infield gels. The fifth inning saw Dillon put its leadoff hitter on via walk, then tried to bunt her into scoring position. However, the bunt popped into the air and Michelotti caught it, then fired to Wahl, who was covering first base, for the double play. The first baseman, Peoples, was charging the plate on the play.
“The last two games, Megan Michelotti has really stepped up for us with two big double plays,” Kelci Thatcher said about the freshman third baseman. “Emily St. John has stepped up, too, in center field, and Taylor, Kloie and Megan all played together in summer ball (and now, with Peoples, make up the infield).”
“And Mollie Peoples is Mollie Peoples,” the coach said, referring to the sophomore’s steady reliability.
Wahl had a triple on offense, and Peoples singled to round out the team’s seven hits. Gallagher struck out four batters and walked two, and Piazzola fanned three and walked three. The Maroons are 8-7 for the season, 7-2 in conference play and resume a busy week with a 5 p.m. game on Thursday at Anaconda. It is set for the CYM Fields. Butte Central will play host to its LaVerne Combo Memorial Tournament Friday and Saturday, playing two games each day, at Stodden Park. Thatcher said Piazzola, Gallagher and her cousin, Kloie, can all expect to see time in the pitcher’s circle.
Hristco-Murray went 2-for-3 for the Beavers and Holtan’s home run was the team’s only extra-base hit. Berriochoa pitched two different stints, coming back in to relieve Holtan in the fifth, and finished with six walks and one strikeout. Holtan absorbed the loss. Dillon will be back at Stodden Park this weekend to vie in the LaVerne Combo Memorial Tournamnet.

Dillon 030 000 0 — 3 6 1
Butte Central 000 403 x — 7 7 0
Bailey Berriochoa, Lauren Holtan (4), Berriochoa (5) and Brandi Lovaas. McKenzie Gallagher, Teresa Piazzola (5) and Corbyn Holm. W — Gallagher (6-3). L — Holtan. Save — Piazzola.
DILLON — Shaylee Erickson 1-3, Audrey Schurg 1-4, Brandi Lovaas 0-3, Lauren Holtan 1-2, Bailey Berriochoa 0-1, Kimee Hritsco-Murray 2-3, Adrianna Pittman 1-2, Erica Rude 0-3, Halie Montgomery 0-2.
BUTTE CENTRAL (7-2, 8-7) — Kloie Thatcher 1-4, Kassidy Criscuolo 0-4, Mollie Peoples 1-4, Taylor Wahl 1-1, Corbyn Holm 0-2, Kara Barnett 0-0, Emily St. John 0-2, Desaray Blunt 0-0, Teresa Piazzola 2-2, Megan Michelotti 1-3, McKenzie Gallagher 1-2.
Extra-base hits — 3B — Wahl. HR — Holtan, Gallagher, Piazzola.
Runs batted in — Dillon 3 (Holtan 1, Pittman 1, Montgomery 1), Butte Central 5 (Gallagher 3, Piazzola 1, Thatcher 1).