VERNAL, Utah — One swing of the bat by Evan Starr changed everything.
The Butte Miners super senior catcher blasted a game-tying, three-run home run in the top of the second inning Friday at Uintah High School.
The shot, which scored Zach Tierney and Rye Doherty, sparked a five-run inning and helped send the Butte Miners to a 15-10 win over Redmond, Oregon in the first round of the Northwest Class A Regional American Legion baseball tournament. (Boxscore)
Butte (41-9), which has won 11 straight, will play either Alaska or host Vernal, Utah, in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game on the all-turf field.
Kenley Leary went 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles, three runs scored and four RBIs from the leadoff spot. Eric “Chooch” Hart joined Starr with four RBIs as the Miners bats bailed them out of some sloppy defense in the opener.
The Miners committed five errors, which led to five unearned runs scoring against them.
“They definitely weren’t nervous or anything,” Miners coach Jim LeProwse said of his Montana Class A state champion Miners. “There wasn’t an intensity like there was last week. At times there was. Evan hit the home run in the top of the second inning. That was big. That kind of got us going.”
Leary doubled and scored on an Egan Lester triple later in the inning to put the Miners up for good at 4-3. Lester came home on a Hart single.
Butte led 7-4 after four innings, and the Miners put up an eight spot in the top of the fifth to make it 15-4.
Redmond got four in the fifth and two in the sixth, but the Butte lead was more than enough.
Hart hit two singles to join Starr and Leary with a multi-hit game. Cayde Stajcar tripled, and Doherty and Kevin Donaldson singled in the win. Tierney and Doherty each drew a pair of walks. Lester, Stajcar and Starr walked once apiece.
Ethan “Easy” Cunningham pitched into the fifth inning for the win. He used 105 pitches and is ineligible to pitch the rest of the tournament. Leary pitched two innings before Trey Hansen got the last out.
Jake Webb poked two hits and drove in three runs to lead Redmond, the Oregon state champion. Tyden Whitfield and Ryker Altizer doubled.
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