Panthers sneak past Bulldogs in gloomy non-conference meeting.

By Coyt Stajcar 

(Photo by Josie Trudgeon Photography.)

The Butte High Bulldogs traveled to Belgrade on Tuesday afternoon for a non-conference matchup with the Belgrade Panthers. The Bulldog bats took a little bit to warm up in the cold weather. For the first 3 innings, they tallied only 1 hit. The Panther bats, however, did not need any time to warm up. Belgrade jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by the end of the 1st inning.

Butte answered back in the top of the 4th inning, with a leadoff double from Cayde Stajcar. Shortly after, Quinn Cox drove him with a single to center. Logan Carden was inserted as a courtesy runner for Cox. He was shortly on third base after an error by the pitcher. A Matthew Donaldson sac fly drove Carden in to cut the lead, 3-2. 

Belgrade answered right back with back-to-backsingles from Landon Wanders and Ryas Olson clogged up the bases for Gavin Trudgeon. Both Wanders and Olson scored on a Keenan Kraft double to center field. The Panthers extended their lead, 5-2 after 4 innings.

Both starting pitchers made it through the 5th inning with no more damage. Kraft finished with 5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 H,1 BB and 7 SO. He was replaced by Gage Banks to start the 6th inning.

The Bulldogs attacked the new pitcher. Cox reached on an error and was again replaced by the courtesy runner, Carden. Deja vu, Carden was driven in by Donaldson for the second time this game. This time, Donaldson smoked a double to center field. Karsen McEwen moved Donaldson to third with a poke through the right side of the infield. Donaldson scored on a throw down to second when McEwen stole the base. McEwen was not satisfied with just second base because he also stole third base in the same at bat. Mason Armstrong got the RBI with a fielder’s choice to the second baseman. The Bulldogs clawed their way back to tie the game at 5.

Like I said earlier, both pitchers were taken out after 5. Trudgeon finished his outing with 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 3 SO. He was replaced by Lucas Harris-Huerta in the bottom of the 6th inning. 

Andrew Hazen singled to start the bottom of the 6th. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. A groundout to the right side of the infield by Wanders advanced Hazen to third base. Hazen scored on a sac fly from Ryas Olson. Sawyer Olson singled to keep the inning alive. A Kraft hot shot through the middle of the infield advanced Olson to third. Olson ended up on a Butte High error, while Kraft advanced all the way to third on the same error. This series of unfortunate events left the Bulldogs in a 7-5 deficit going into the 7th inning. 

Banks got the Bulldogs to go down in order in the top of the 7th. The Bulldogs rally ended before it could even start. Defeat stings, but the Boys from Butte will get another crack at it on Saturday at home against Columbus. Box score attached below.