The Butte Miners fell to 2-2 on the season after dropping both games of a doubleheader against the host Bitterroot Bucs on Saturday afternoon.
The Bucs used a strong offense and pitching in both contests to record an 11-1 and 13-2 sweep of the Miners. Each game ended in the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Butte led the opener 1-0 after the top half of the first inning with Nate LeProwse singling home Trey Hoagland. The Bucs tied things in the bottom half of the frame and then broke things open with a six-run fourth inning.
LeProwse had three of the five Butte hits while the Bucs used nine hits and capitalized on six Miner errors to pull away.
Butte’s Killian O’Leary took the loss from the mound.
The second game saw the Miners come out strong, scoring both of their runs in the top of the first inning. The Bucs scored five runs to answer the Butte challenge and used another six-run fourth inning to cement the sweep.
Bucs’ starter Bo Zelier held Butte to four hits while striking out four.
LeProwse hit a home run for Butte which saw its defense play much better in the nightcap, committing only two errors.
The Miners continue their season next Saturday at 1 p.m. with a doubleheader in Helena against the Senators.
The Laurel Dodgers ushered in the Doug Studiner-era as the long-time baseball coach made his Dodger debut last weekend.
Unfortunately for Studiner and the Dodgers, it was a forgettable opening weekend as they dropped a pair of games to the Billings Halos and Gillette Roughriders at Thomson Park Saturday afternoon.
“We took our lumps this weekend,” said Studiner on Monday. “However, in looking back, we’ll take a lot more positives out of these two losses than we will negatives and will be better because of it.”
A pair of games between the same clubs scheduled for Sunday were cancelled because of poor weather and likely will not be made up.
The Dodgers hit the diamond again Saturday, April 26, when they travel to Livingston to face the Braves in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. They will return home on Sunday, April 27, to host Belgrade. That non-conference twin-bill is set to begin at 1 p.m. as well.
“We really hadn’t seen a whole lot of action going into Saturday, so you tend to forget the fundamentals early on, and I think that’s what it was more than anything,” Studiner added. “We have some time off now to focus on those fundamentals again and get ready for Livingston and Belgrade.”
Billings Halos 13, Laurel 1 (Five innnings)
Payton Stanaway, Austin Smart and Luke Cathey combined for six RBIs and seven of the Halos 13 hits as Billings cruised to a 13-1 win over the Dodgers on Saturday morning in a game shortened to five-innings by the 10-run rule.
John Preller took the loss on the mound for the Dodgers (0-1) while allowing six runs — all of which were unearned — on six hits. Preller did strike out six Halo hitters in his three innings of work.
Preller threw 83 pitches, 47 of which went for strikes.
“John threw the ball really well,” Studiner said of his starter. “Defensively, we didn’t help him out fundamentally and allowed (the Halos) to take the extra base to many times and they turned those into runs.”
Billings struck with three runs in the first and never looked back as they scored in each of the five innings on Saturday.
The Halos led 10-0 after the top of the fourth inning but Kameron Fisher got the Dodgers on the board in the bottom half of the inning as he reached base on a single and advanced to third on a wild pickoff attempt by Kyhler Thompson. Fisher then scored on a wild pitch.
Cole Togerson picked up the win for the Halos.
Gillette 11, Laurel 8
As the case was in the opener, the Dodgers found themselves in a deep hole early against the Roughriders as they trailed 9-0 after three innings on their way to an 11-8 defeat.
“Again, we had some mental and physical mistakes that opened the door for Gillette, and they took advantage of those opportunities,” said Studiner.
Brenden Cellmer retired the first two batters in each of the first three innings and allowed just two earned runs but couldn’t overcome four Dodger errors as he took the loss.
“I thought Brenden did a nice job for us as well,” Studiner said. “We just didn’t close the door for him when we had the chances too.”
While the Dodgers trailed big early, they chipped away at the lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before cutting the lead to 11-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh-inning.
“We got back to playing baseball with some passion and freedom,” Studiner said of the Dodgers late-game rally. “The kids started diving for balls and knocking balls down to keep them in the infield and not allow those free bases.”
The Dodgers scored four more times in the bottom of the seventh inning but couldn’t complete the comeback against Gillette reliever Cody Eaton.
Helena Reps fourth-inning burst enough to top Missoula Mavericks, 12-5
A nine-run explosion in the fourth inning led Helena Reps to a 12-5 win in seven innings over Missoula Mavericks at Kindrick Legion Field - Helena on Saturday.
The teams traded runs for most of the contest, leading to five lead changes in the game.
Ryan Dorvall reached base four times. He singled in the first and fourth innings.
Jackson Thennis got it done on the rubber on the way to a win. He allowed one run over 1 1/3 innings. He struck out none, walked two and surrendered no hits.
Nick Yovetich was the game's losing pitcher. He lasted just three innings, walked one, struck out three, and allowed three runs.
Missoula Mavericks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. A double by Koty Rehban, bringing home Hunter Paulson started the inning off. More runs came home for Missoula Mavericks when Rehban scored on an RBI single by Spencer Schock.
Helena Reps survived Missoula Mavericks' surge and put up two runs of its own in the first. Helena Reps scored on an RBI triple by Ryan Arntson and an RBI single by Keinan Stief.
Helena Reps answered Missoula Mavericks' top inning with one run of its own in the third. Helena Reps scored on a steal of home by Ryan Arntson.
The fourth spelled defeat for Missoula Mavericks, as Helena Reps grabbed the lead for good. More runners rounded the bases on a two-run error, two sacrifice flys, and three singles.
Helena Reps pounded Missoula Mavericks on Saturday 15-5 at Kindrick Legion Field - Helena in six innings.
Helena Reps scored six runs in the sixth on a bases loaded walk, a fielder's choice, , an RBI single by Henry Bowers, and an RBI single by Ryan Arntson.
Keinan Stief racked up five RBIs on five hits for Helena Reps. He doubled in the second inning and singled in the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
Ryan Dorvall got it done on the mound on the way to a win. He allowed three runs over 3 1/3 innings. Ryan Dorvall struck out three, walked one and gave up six hits.
Ryan Mchugh was the game's losing pitcher. He lasted just two innings, walked two, struck out none, and allowed four runs.
The lead stayed with Helena Reps after the second, when it scored four runs on a two-run double by Keinan and a two-run single by Reilly Leary.
Three runs in the top of the fourth helped Missoula Mavericks close its deficit to 4-3. A two-run single by Austin Kominck and an error sparked Missoula Mavericks' rally. The Missoula Mavericks threat came to an end when Tristan Siegers finally got Kaaden Wilson to strike out.
Helena Reps survived Missoula Mavericks' surge and put up four runs of its own in the fourth. Helena Reps scored on an RBI single by Eamon Byrne, a wild pitch, and a two-run single by Keinan.