Rustlers beat Bulldogs in extra innings … twice

It was a case of what could have been and what very well could be for the Butte High softball team Thursday.

The Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with the maybe the best team in the state, dropping a pair of extra-inning games to Great Falls Russell in an Eastern AA marathon thriller at Stodden Park.

Butte High fell 2-1 in eight innings in the first game of the doubleheader. CMR’s Madi Mahoney hit a two-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.

Butte High will be the No. 4 seed in the Eastern AA playoffs and take on Billings Skyview or Billings Senior next Thursday at home. The winner of that best-of-three series will advance to the State tournament.

CMR clinched the top seed and a State tournament berth with the win in the opener. The nightcap victory was just gravy for the Rustlers.

While Butte High’s players were down after the back-to-back heartbreaking losses, Bulldog coach Steve Stosich was upbeat after the games, however.

“They’re the best team in the state,” Stosich said of the Rustlers. “We played right with them.”

If Butte High had any doubts about the durability and toughness of their ace pitcher, junior Jessica Robertson, they were alleviated — and then some. Robertson pitched all 17 innings and more than held her own against a lineup that usually murders the ball.

Bulldog coaches had Robertson’s pitch count on the day at 219. She threw 131 pitches in second game.

“How can you pitch better against a team that hits like that?” Stosich asked rhetorically.

The Rustlers, though, left town flying high thanks to one-out the no-doubt blast by Mahoney to left field.

The shot, hit by CMR’s leadoff hitter, scored Tiffany Lefebre, who led off the inning with a single.

It also came after Butte High took the lead in the top of the ninth inning. (Butte High was the home team in the opener and visitor in the nightcap).

Butte High senior centerfielder Hattie Thatcher singled to lead off the inning. She took second on a bunt by Ashten McCloskey and third on a groundout by Mariah Michelotti.

Thatcher then alertly scored on a passed ball to put Butte High up 4-3.

That run came after shortstop Katey Walsh made a diving catch to end the eighth inning with the winning run on third base.

The Bulldogs led 3-0 after a three-run third inning. Thatcher, Michelotti, Baylee Thatcher and Bobbie Osterman singled in that inning.

The Rustlers chipped away with a run in the fourth and run in the fifth before Heather Darby tied the game with a leadoff home run in the sixth.

The Bulldogs outhit the Rustlers 13-6 in the nightcap. All of Butte High’s hits were singles, though, and the Bulldogs stranded 19 runners over the nine innings.

Baylee Thatcher went 4 for 4, while Hattie Thatcher and Mariah Michelotti each smacked two hits. McCloskey, Walsh, Aston LaFond and Nikki Guizzo joined Osterman with one hit.

Quinn Hartman picked up the win by pitching two innings in relief.

Shelby Vernon singled and scored on an error in the top of the eighth to lead the Rustlers in the first game.

Mahoney doubled to lead off the game. She put the Rustlers on top 1-0 by scoring on an error.

“We can’t make those mistakes against a team like that,” Stosich said.

The Bulldogs tied the game in the fourth when Hattie Thatcher singled and scored on a single by her sister.

The Bulldogs managed five hits against Hartman, who went the distance for the win. Michelotti doubled, while McCloskey and Osterman joined the Thatchers with singles.

The Bulldogs close the regular season at 11-8 overall and 7-5 in conference. CMR heads to state at 15-3 and 11-1.

Butte High celebrated Senior Day, honoring seniors Walsh, Guizzo, Hattie Thatcher and Audriana Baker.

Gmae 1 CMR RUSTLERS AB R H BI BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS AB R H BI
Madi Mahoney          3  1  1  0  Hattie Thatcher       4  1  1  0  
Kylie Otis            3  0  0  0  Ashten McCloskey      3  0  1  0  
Quinn Hartman         2  0  1  1  Maria Michelotti      4  0  1  0  
Alissa Keeler         4  0  1  0  Baylee Thatcher       2  0  1  1  
Heather Darby         3  0  0  0   Kendall Alley        0  0  0  0  
Kaydee Parsons        3  0  0  0  Bobbie Osterman       3  0  1  0  
McCall Enott          3  0  1  0  Katey Walsh           2  0  0  0  
Eric Lankford         3  0  0  0  Ashton LaFond         3  0  0  0  
Shelby Vernon         3  1  1  0  Nikki Guizzo          2  0  0  0  
                                   Amanda Spear         1  0  0  0  
                                  Justyce Connole       3  0  0  0  
TOTALS               27  2  5  1  TOTALS               27  1  5  1
CMR RUSTLERS 100 000 01 -- 2 BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS 000 100 00 -- 1  
LOB--CMR RUSTLERS 5, BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS 5. ERR--Justyce
Connole, Baylee Thatcher, Maria Michelotti. 2B--Madi
Mahoney, Maria Michelotti. HBP--Quinn Hartman. SACF--Quinn
Hartman. SACB--Kylie Otis, Madi Mahoney, Ashten McCloskey.
 CMR RUSTLERS IP H R ER BB SO HR
Quinn Hartman (W)                 8    5    1    1    2   11    0
 BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS      
Jessica Robertson (L)             8    5    2    1    0    7    0
SO--Kylie Otis, McCall Enott, Heather Darby, Kaydee Parsons,
Madi Mahoney (2), Eric Lankford, Ashton LaFond (3), Justyce
Connole, Katey Walsh (2), Nikki Guizzo, Ashten McCloskey
(2), Hattie Thatcher, Maria Michelotti. BB--Katey Walsh,
Kendall Alley.
Game 2 BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS AB R H BI CMR RUSTLERS AB R H BI
Hattie Thatcher       4  1  2  1  Madi Mahoney          3  1  1  2  
Ashten McCloskey      5  0  1  0  Kylie Otis            3  0  0  0  
Maria Michelotti      6  1  2  0  Quinn Hartman         4  1  1  1  
Baylee Thatcher       4  0  4  0  Alissa Keeler         4  0  2  0  
Bobbie Osterman       4  1  1  1  Heather Darby         4  1  1  1  
Katey Walsh           4  1  1  0  Kaydee Parsons        4  0  1  0  
Ashton LaFond         2  0  1  0  McCall Enott          3  0  0  0  
 Amanda Spear         0  0  0  0  Tiffany Lefebre       3  1  1  0  
Nikki Guizzo          5  0  1  0  Shelby Vernon         2  1  0  0  
Justyce Connole       4  0  0  1   Jess Della Rossa     1  0  0  0  
 Audriana Baker       1  0  0  0                                    
TOTALS               39  4 13  3  TOTALS               31  5  7  4
BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS 003 000 001 -- 4 CMR RUSTLERS 000 111 002 -- 5  
LOB--BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS 19, CMR RUSTLERS 7. ERR--Katey
Walsh, Ashten McCloskey, Heather Darby, Kaydee Parsons.
HR--Heather Darby, Madi Mahoney. HBP--Hattie Thatcher,
McCall Enott, Shelby Vernon. SACB--Ashton LaFond, Bobbie
Osterman, Ashten McCloskey, Kylie Otis, Tiffany Lefebre,
Madi Mahoney.
 BUTTE HIGH BULLDOGS IP H R ER BB SO HR
Jessica Robertson (L)         8 1-3    7    5    5    1    4    2
 CMR RUSTLERS  
Alissa Keeler                     7   12    3    3    5    4    0
Quinn Hartman (W)                 2    1    1    0    2    1    0
PB--Maria Michelotti (2), Tiffany Lefebre. WP--Alissa
Keeler. SO--Justyce Connole (2), Nikki Guizzo (3), Alissa
Keeler, Kaydee Parsons, Madi Mahoney (2). BB--Ashton LaFond,
Katey Walsh, Baylee Thatcher (2), Amanda Spear, Bobbie
Osterman, Hattie Thatcher, Madi Mahoney.


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