Stimatz clutch hit lifts Maroons in Combo opener

Stimatz clutch hit lifts Maroons in Combo opener
Maggie Stimatz stops after rounding first base on her game-winning two-run single against Ronan Friday at Stodden Park. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler 

 Drama will keep the crowd and Butte Central locked it in on Friday. 

The Maroons whacked a go-ahead single in the sixth inning, then repelled a Ronan scoring threat in the top of the seventh to defeat the Maidens 3-1 at Stodden Park in the LaVerne Combo Memorial high school softball tournament. 

It was BC’s first game of the tourney. Butte Central was to play Southwestern A Conference rival Frenchtown in a league game in the 6 p.m. round of the tourney. 

The Maroons and Ronan were tied 1-all going into the bottom of the sixth inning. Maci Reopelle drew a walk and Maddi Kump knocked a single into short center field with one out. Mia Keeley stepped into the batter’s box having gone 2-for-2 in two previous appearances there. The Maidens opted to intentionally walk her, loading the bases. 

Junior right fielder Maggie Stimatz then turned on a chest-high fastball and ripped it down the third-base line for a two-run single, driving in both Reopelle and Kump. 

“I was just waiting for the right pitch to drive,” she said. “With the bases loaded, I’ve been waiting for that pitch all year.” 

She said it might not have been the biggest hit of her career, but  “it ranks right right up there. It was an important one.” 

It was. Ronan pitcher Macao Jackson got the next two BC batters out on a strikeout and a flyout to deeper center by Renee Creekmore. 

Jackson and Kump matched four-hitters from the pitcher’s circle in a well-played game, half of which was played in wicked winds.

Kump retired the first two Maidens in the top of the seventh inning on groundouts. Ashlie Welker then clouted a ground-rule double that hopped the fence in left-center field. Jackson was walked intentionally, putting the potential tying run on base. 

However, Kiara Sherman popped a foul just left of home plate and Keeley, the Butte Central catcher,  snatched it out of the air for the game-ending out. 

“Having a win is great going into a game against Frenchtown,” Stimatz said. “We can keep the energy up.” 

Ronan scored first on a Sherman single to center after Jackson doubled to left in the top of the third inning. The Maroons tied the score in the last of the fourth when Kump drew a two-out walk and came home on a single by Keeley. 

Kump walked three and struck out four. Jackson gave up four walks and totaled seven strikeouts. The Maroons were without junior standout Sofee Thatcher because of an illness. 

Neither defense committed an error. 

Ronan                         001  000    0 — 1  4  0 
Butte Central             000   102   x — 3  4
Macao Jackson and Harlee Stokes. Maddi Kump and Mia Keeley. W – Kump. L – Jackson.
RONAN — Brogan Youngren 0-4, Ashlie Welker 1-4, Macao Jackson 0-1, Kiara Sherman 1-4, Aly Mock 1-2, Harlee Stokes 0-0, Maddie Miller 1-2, Haylie Webster 0-3, Mira Corum 0-2, Tracee Burland 0-1, Julia Daley 0-2.
BUTTE CENTRAL — Brooke Badovinac 0-3, Brenna Foley 0-3, Maci Reopelle 0-2, Maddi Kump 1-2, Mia Keeley 2-2, Maggie Stimatz 1-2, Jaiden Berger 0-3, Renee Creekmore 0-3, Kathryn Lalicker 0-2.
Extra-base hits – 2B – Jackson, Welker.
Runs batted in – Ronan 1 (Sherman), Butte Central 3 (Stimatz 2, Keeley 1).

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