Sentinel softball jumps out early on Butte High

By Bruce Sayler
Butte High still lags behind in crucial outdoor time for playing girls’ softball, but the Bulldogs are gaining familiarity with it. They’re catching up.
The Butte High girls weren’t quite there yet, though, on Monday as they yielded to Missoula Sentinel, 11-7, in a Western AA Conference game at sometimes sunny, unrelenting windy Stodden Park.
“I think if we’d come out swinging early in the game like we were in the middle of the game, things might have been different,” Ryan Stosich, head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “We could’ve packed it in at (trailing) 7-nothing, but we fought back hard, instead. I’m proud of that. We had our chances and not capitalizing in the early innings hurt us.”
The Spartans led 7-0 through four innings. Nina Samoury singled in Brooklyn Wright, who had reached and stole a base to lead off the game. It was the first of Samoury’s five RBIs. Butte-rooted Alyssa Hanninen hit a one-out single in the second. Payton Taylor ran for her and scored on a double steal a walk and fielder’s choice later.
Piper Whitman’s run-scoring double and Samoury’s three-run homer keyed a five-run fourth inning for Sentinel. Wright also singled home a run.
Butte High had left the bases loaded in the third and had two runners aboard with one out In the second, but was blanked by Hannien through three frames.
The Bulldogs started connecting in the fourth. Mattie Stepan and Dacelyn LaFond belted back-to-back singles to start a rally. A wild pitch moved both up a bag and then Ashby Lee reached base when a play at third on Lee’s ground ball failed to catch Stepan off the bag. The bases were loaded. Gracie Ferriter knocked two runs in with a base hit to right. An out later, Kamber Leary plated two more with a double to center. The Bulldogs had cut their deficit to 7-4 before the inning ended on a groundout.
Leary, the junior shortstop, had a big day at the plate with four RBIs in a 3-for-4 day.
The Spartans gained three more runs in the fifth inning, however. Whitman socked a one-out double to left field and Wright singled her in. Kennedy Dypwick bunted her way on and Samoury singled to score Wright, sending Dypwick to third. Haley Sellers’ groundout let Dypwick race home.
Butte High got the three runs back in its half of the inning. Gracie Jonart bounced a leadoff single into center field. Avery Barsness ran for her and scored on a double by Ashlinn Mullaney after a strikeout and walk. Leary followed with a two-run single to right. A walk and a strikeout later and with two runners on base, Stepan smashed a liner toward right-center that Sentinel second baseman Kai Gillis snagged out of the air for the third out.
Dypwick drilled a solo home run over left field for an 11-7 Sentinel lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Hailey Skeel poked a two-out single to center field and Ferriter got to second on a double-error, putting two runners in scoring position for the Bulldogs. However, Whitman, pitching in relief, got the out on strikes after a long duel at the plate to end the game.
“Mattie Stepan did well at the plate and Kamber is hitting well,” Stosich said. “The more field time we’re seeing, the better we’re getting.
“Ashlinn pitched well. That’s the farthest we’ve pushed her this year and she did well.”
Mullaney is coming back from an arm injury that cost her all of last season after an All-State freshman year.
Butte High will play a non-conference game on Thursday in Great Falls against C.M. Russell, then return home to return Western AA competition with a Saturday noon doubleheader against Glacier High of Kalispell – weather permitting.
Sentinel 110 530 1 – 11 17 2
Butte High 000 403 0 — 7 10 3
Alyssa Hanninen, Piper Whitman (5) and Nina Samoury. Ashlinn Mullaney and Gracie Ferriter. W – Hanninen. L – Mullaney (1-5).
MISSOULA SENTINEL (5-3, 3-1) – Brooklyn Wright 3-4, Kennedy Dypwick 3-5, Nina Samoury 3-4, Isabel Schwartz 0-0, Haley Sellers 1-5, Kai Gillis 2-4, Sydney Goldbar 1-4, Makenna Thorson 1-3, Alyssa Hanninen 1-3, Payton Taylor 0-0, Piper Whitman 2-2, Sophie Olson 0-0.
BUTTE HIGH (1-5, 1-3) – Gracie Ferriter 1-3, Allie Becker 0-0, Ashlinn Mullaney 1-5, Kamber Leary 3-4, Madisyn Swanson 0-2, Reese Johnson 0-0, Taylor Drakos 0-4, Mattie Stepan 2-4, Dacelyn LaFond 1-4, Gracie Jonart 1-4, Avery Barsness 0-0, Ashby Lee 1-3, Hailey Skeel 1-1.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Whitman 2, Leary, Mullaney. HR – Samoury, Dypwick.
Runs batted in – Sentinel 10 (Samoury 5, Wright 2, Dypwick 1, Sellers 1, Whitman 1), Butte High 7 (Leary 4, Ferriter 2, Mullaney 1).
Missoula Big Sky 12, Butte High 1
MISSOULA – Sophomore ace Brielle Wilson limited Butte High to a double by Ashlinn Mullaney in a 12-1 Missoula Big Sky win over the Bulldogs Saturday in Western AA Conference high school softball.
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth inning on the 10-run difference rule.
The Eagles used a seven-run second inning to propel themselves to the win.
“They’re really good,” Butte High head coach Ryan Stosich said of the undefeated Eagles. “But we really only had one bad inning and then played pretty well otherwise.”
Big Sky slugged four home runs in a 10-hit attack that backed Wilson’s one-hitter. Sadie McGuinn (granddaughter of the late Butte Sports Hall of Fame baseball coach Jim Hanley) blasted one of the homers while Kyler Latrielle, Delaney Laird and Grace Hall hammered the others.
Latrielle collected three runs batted in.
Kamber Leary scored Butte’s only run. She drew a walk, stole second base, moved to third on an out and scored on a groundout by Mattie Stepan.
Wilson worked her way out of trouble, walking six Bulldogs against posting three strikeouts, to come up with the one-hitter.
Butte High 000 100 x — 1 1 2
Big Sky 070 203 x – 12 10 0
Ashlinn Mullaney, Kamber Leary (5) and Gracie Ferriter. Brielle Wilson and Grace Hood. W – Wilson. L – Mullaney.
BUTTE HIGH – Gracie Ferriter 0-1, Ashlinn Mullaney 1-3, Kamber Leary 0-2, Madisyn Swanson 0-2, Avery Barsness 0-0, Taylor Drakos 0-1, Mattie Stepan 0-2, Allie Becker 0-1, Dacelyn LaFond 0-2, Gracie Jonart 0-2, Ashby Lee 0-2.
MISSOULA BIG SKY – Kyler Latrielle 1-4, Grace Hood 1-2, Brooke Schaffer 1-3, Delaney Laird 3-4, Logan Baack 2-2, Sadie McGuinn 1-3, Syerra Peterson 1-3, Aubrey Bykari 0-1, Irene Griswold 0-1, Logan Latrielle 0-0.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Mullaney. HR – McGuinn, K. Latrielle, Laird, Hood.
Runs batted in – Butte High 1 (Stepan), Big Sky 8 (K. Latrielle 3, Laird 2, McGuinn 2, Hood 1).