Six-run sixth spells doom for Butte High softball

MISSOULA — Missoula Sentinel scored six runs in the sixth inning Tuesday to turn a 3-0 ballgame into a 9-0 Western AA softball win over Butte High. (Boxscore)

Jayden Gagner pitched six shutout innings, and Charlee Hoover got the final three outs as the Spartans took another step toward locking up the No. 2 seed from the West at the State tournament.

The win lifts Sentinel to 10-2 in conference and 14-6 overall. Butte High fell to 6-6 and 8-11.

Bulldog coach Ryan Stosich said the Bulldogs have locked up a berth in the State tournament, which is next Thursday through Saturday in Missoula. He said the Bulldogs, though, can do no better than the fourth seed with the latest loss.

The top six teams from the Eastern AA and Western AA go to State.

Sentinel did its damage with nine singles. Kennedy Dypwick and Cassidy Schwertzer each smacked two. Kodi Fraser, Amy Taylor, Raquel Reed, Emma Reese and Jayden Ganger each hit one.

Stosich praised the performance of freshman pitcher Ashlinn Mullaney. He pointed to three errors that led to four unearned runs.

“Ashlinn pitched a great game,” the coach said. “We just didn’t hit. Bottom line. We just didn’t hit.”

All the Bulldogs could muster is five hits off the tough Sentinel pitching. All of them were singles.

Kodie Hoagland went 2 for 3 to lead off the lineup for Butte High. Mullaney, Kamber Leary and Maddi Jonart each hit a single. Leary worked Butte High’s lone walk in the loss.

The Bulldogs close the regular season with home games against Kalispell Flathead and Glacier Friday and Saturday at Stodden Park.