ANACONDA — Mikayla Boggs is killing her former team.
Along the way, the senior just might have saved the softball season for the Butte Central Maroons.
Boggs, who transferred to Butte Central from Anaconda after her freshman year, relieved injured pitcher Teresa Piazzola, and Butte Central overcame two big deficits to beat the Copperheads 10-8 in front of a large crowd at the Charlotte Yeoman-Martin Complex.
The win, which came in the first round of the inaugural Southwestern A Divisional tournament, secured a trip to next week’s Class A State tournament for the Maroons.
“In my book she’s the MVP of that game,” Butte Central coach Kelci Thatcher said of Boggs. “She never ceases to amaze me. She buckled down when she had to.”
Boggs relieved Piazzola for the second time in eight games against the Copperheads. Piazzola, who missed last week’s Laverne Combo Invitational with a hip injury, aggravated the injury, and the Copperheads took advantage.
Anaconda scored 4-0 in the first inning to take the lead.
The Maroons battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning, but the Copperhead bats were at it again when Piazzola was forced out in the second.
BC was trailing 6-4 with a runner on base when Boggs came in from right field. The first batter she faced, Sarah Schaefer, hit an RBI double to make it 7-4, and it wasn’t looking good for the Maroons.
Boggs, though, got things rolling by striking out Julia Peterson looking to end the inning.
“She does it with such tenacity,” Thatcher said of Boggs. “She didn’t warm up, didn’t look scared. I am so impressed with her. For not pitching a lot of games, the last two weeks she has done a phenomenal job. She’s got a lot of big outs against good hitters.”
Boggs said she likes coming into the game as a reliever. She also said she likes facing the Copperheads, when she always seems to rise to the occasion. Last year, Boggs hit a walk-off single to bet the Copperheads in Butte.
“It gives me more will to win, I guess,” Boggs said. “I feel like I can push more just because it’s them.”
Anaconda led 7-6 after three innings and took an 8-6 advantage in the top of the fourth when star catcher Courtney Moodry scored on a wild pitch.
BC tied it in the bottom of the inning. Shelby Paffhausen singled and scored on a Taylor Wahl single. Wahl scored on a throwing error to knot the score.
Butte Central got out of the top of the sixth unscathed when second baseman Shawnee Hjelt made an over-the-shoulder catch going back and to her left to rob Schaefer of a hit and end the inning.
Wahl doubled to lead off the sixth inning. After Molly Peoples reached on a bang-bang play at first, Whal scored on a groundout by Corbyn Holm.
Boggs then singled in Peoples with an insurance run.
In the top of the seventh, Boggs got two quick outs before bringing the tying run to the plate by hitting Chloe Worl with a pitch.
After Worl, a senior, reached first, Boggs headed over to give her former teammate a hug — proving that the rivalry with the Copperheads might be heated, but it certainly isn’t bitter.
“I hit her last Thursday. I hit her in the leg,” Boggs said. “I think I may have hit her my sophomore year. I felt bad, and she’s nice. They’re all nice.”
Thatcher marveled at the gesture by Boggs.
“She’s just a class act,” the coach said. “Win or lose, she’s classy, and that’s something you can’t teach.”
Five pitches later, Boggs, who improved to 5-3 on the season, got Mikayla Courtright to hit a grounder to Rylee Green at third. Green made a nice play to end the game — BC’s third two-run win over the Copperheads this season.
Thatcher also marveled how her young team kept its cool throughout the up-and-down game that left the coaches and crowd members tense all game.
“I’m in the dugout panicking, and they have no sense of urgency,” Thatcher said. “They don’t get worried; they don’t panicked. They just battle. They do what they have to do.”
Wahl, a freshman, went 3 for 3 with four runs scored to read a BC offense that saw eight different players reach base. Peoples smacked two hits, while Holm and Boggs each drove in two runs. Peoples Cassidy McGree and Kate Ossello, who had a key bunt, each drove in a run.
“Everybody stepped up when they needed to,” Thatcher said.
Lacee Moodry’s two hits and two RBIs paced the Copperheads, who also got hits from Courtney Moodry and Delaney Chapman.
The Maroons advance to the undefeated semifinal game, where they will meet Hamilton, which beat Stevensville at noon on Saturday.
BC can do no worse than third place, and the top three teams move on.
Anaconda will head to loser-out play to take on Dillon, which fell to Stevensville, 9 a.m. Stevensville will play Corvallis, which lost to Anaconda in the opener, in the other 9 a.m. loser-out game.
The Maroons will go with Boggs and sophomore McKenzie Gallagher the rest of the way. Thatcher said Piazzola will not be available at least until the state tournament begins next Thursday.
“I hope she’s OK,” Boggs said, “because we need her, too.”
ANACONDA AB R H BI BUTTE CENTRAL AB R H BI Courtney Moodry 2 3 1 0 Shawnee Hjelt 3 0 0 0 Lacee Moodry 4 2 2 2 Shelby Paffhausen 2 3 1 0 Delanie Chapman 4 0 1 1 Taylor Wahl 3 4 3 0 Sarah Schaefer 2 1 1 1 Mollie Peoples 4 2 2 1 Julia Peterson 3 1 1 0 Corbyn Holm 4 1 1 2 Kassandra Flores 3 0 0 0 Mikayla Boggs 3 0 1 2 Chloe Worl 3 0 0 0 Rylee Green 4 0 0 0 Kristy Hayden 1 1 0 0 Cassidy McGree 3 0 0 1 Mikayla Courtright 2 0 0 0 Kate Ossello 2 0 1 1 Hanna Schaefer 2 0 0 0 TOTALS 26 8 6 4 TOTALS 28 10 9 7 ANACONDA 430 100 0 -- 8 BUTTE CENTRAL 420 202 x -- 10 LOB--ANACONDA 6, BUTTE CENTRAL 7. ERR--Courtney Moodry, Lacee Moodry, Kassandra Flores (2), Shawnee Hjelt, Rylee Green, Taylor Wahl, Kate Ossello. 2B--Courtney Moodry, Sarah Schaefer, Lacee Moodry, Taylor Wahl. HBP--Chloe Worl, Shelby Paffhausen, Mikayla Boggs. SACB--Hanna Schaefer, Julia Peterson, Kassandra Flores, Kate Ossello. SB--Sarah Schaefer, Julia Peterson (2), Mollie Peoples. ANACONDA IP H R ER BB SO HR Kristy Hayden 1.00 2 6 4 4 1 0 Mikayla Courtright (L) 5.00 7 4 3 0 3 0 BUTTE CENTRAL Teresa Piazzola 1.67 4 7 3 2 2 0 Mikayla Boggs (W) 5.33 2 1 0 3 3 0 PB--Kate Ossello (2). WP--Kristy Hayden, Mikayla Courtright (2). SO--Chloe Worl, Delanie Chapman, Hanna Schaefer, Julia Peterson, Kassandra Flores, Rylee Green, Mikayla Boggs (2), Kate Ossello. BB--Courtney Moodry (2), Sarah Schaefer (2), Mikayla Courtright, Shelby Paffhausen, Shawnee Hjelt, Cassidy McGree, Taylor Wahl.