Piazzola perfect as Maroons rout ‘Jackets

Butte Central pitcher Teresa Piazzola delivers a pitch during a perfect game Friday at Stodden Park. (Bill Foley photo)

Teresa Piazzola made sure her outfielders didn’t have to work too hard on a sunny and hot Friday afternoon.

The Butte Central senior pitcher didn’t allow a ball to be hit out of the outfield as she tossed a perfect game in Butte Central’s 10-0 win over Stevensville in front of a large crowd at Stodden Park. The Southwestern A opener for both teams was called after five innings because of the mercy rule.

Piazzola struck out 11 batters and needed just 56 pitches to set the Yellowjackets down in order, 15 up and 15 down.

“Teresa made it pretty easy on us defensively,” BC coach Kelci Thatcher said. “Teresa looked really, really good.”

Keeping Piazzola’s pitch count low was something the Maroons were hoping to do after Piazzola, whose season was cut short by injury the last two years, went well over the century mark while striking out 13 batters in a win at Polson last Saturday.

“That’s awesome because in Polson she had over 130 pitches,” Thatcher said of the low pitch count. “That was one of our goals that we wanted to get her pitch count down. She did a phenomenal job.”

Piazzola said she wasn’t tired at all after the impressive performance.

“I’m feeling good,” she said. “At first we were throwing different pitches, drops and everything. Then at the end we just focused on fastballs, just hitting my spots with fastballs.”

Thatcher said the plan was to bring McKenzie Gallagher, who played left field, into the pitchers’ circle after a couple of innings. Piazzola’s perfect game ended that idea.

“Kenzie Gallagher is always ready whenever you need her,” Thatcher said. “I wanted to split this game half and half with Kenzie and Teresa, but you hate to take a no-hitter away from her. And Kenzie was the first person to run over to Teresa and give her a pat on the back.”

Offensively, the Maroons were on top of their game, too. BC wass patience at the plate, making Stevi pitcher Sarah Morrison work overtime. When she threw strikes, the Maroons made Morrison pay.

“Offensively, I couldn’t be more proud of our girls,” coach Thatcher said. “We struggled the first couple innings. They were disciplined, they came back and they executed really well. One through nine, they did an excellent job.”

Piazzola drew a walk with one out in the second inning. She scored on a play that started with a bunt hit by Taylor Wahl and ended with two Yellowjacket throwing errors.

The Maroons broke the game open with eight runs in the third inning. Megan Michelotti and leadoff hitter Kloie Thatcher each hit a two-run double to highlight the inning. Mollie Peoples and Piazzola added RBI singles in the inning.

Piazzola walked again with one out in the fourth inning. Courtesy runner Bella Sorini, who is playing with a brace on her injured wrist, scored on a single by Wahl to bring the mercy rule into play.

Thatcher and Wahl each had a two hit game. Wahl nearly had a home run, but a stiff breeze pushed her bid for an opposite-field shot in the fourth inning just foul. It had plenty of distance.

Shawnee Hjelt, added a single, while Gallagher reached twice on a walk and Kassidy Criscuolo took ball four once.

Catcher Corbyn Holm was the lone Maroon not to reach base, but she worked the count three times. She was also flawless behind the dish.

“This team, they’re fun,” coach Thatcher said. “They have really good chemistry together and they make our job as coaches pretty easy. They know what’s expected, they want to win and they’re on a mission. It’s great to see.”

The Maroons are back in action Saturday when then head to Hamilton for a noon Southwestern A game against the Broncs.

The Maroons will likely pitch Piazzola and Gallagher. At least that is the plan.

Stevensville                000      00 — 0   0   3
Butte Central             018      1x — 10  8  0

Sarah Morrison, Callie Lendman (3), Morrison (3) and Dani Trangmoe; Teresa Piazzola and Corbyn Holm. W — Piazzola (2-0). L — Morrison.
STEVENSVILLE — Mikayla Newman 0-2, Makayla Davids 0-2, Haley Kampka 0-2, Lendman 0-2, Trangmoe 0-2, Sam Hambrick 0-2, Rylee Miloy 0-1, Kylee Martin 0-1, Abby Austin 0-1, Morrison 0-1.
BUTTE CENTRAL (2-1, 1-0) — Kloie Thatcher 2-3, Shawnee Hjelt 1-2, Mollie Peoples 1-3, Holm 0-4, Piazzola 1-1, Bella Sorini 0-0, Taylor Wahl 2-2, Kassidy Criscuolo 0-2, McKenzie Gallagher 0-1, Megan Michelotti 1-2.
2B — Michelotti, Thatcher. RBIs — Michelotti 2, Thatcher 2, Peoples, Piazzola, Wahl.

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