Runs didn’t come easy for opponents against some of Missoula’s finest softball players.
The Zootown Senior League All-Stars cruised in their first two games of the 2014 Western Regional Senior Softball Tournament, winning 16-1 against Billings and 15-0 against Northern California at the Dale Clawson Complex at Playfair Park on Friday.
Zootown manager Kevin Miltko said he was really proud of how his team started out the tournament.
“We played both games all the way through and all 16 girls performed,” Miltko said. “It was a team effort to get the wins. It’s not often you can say that all 16 girls played, but that happened today.”
Big Sky pitcher Macey Newbary produced seven strong innings for Zootown across the pair of games, striking out 17 and allowing only one run.
“I was just feeling good up there,” Newbary said. “It was the start of the tournament so I wanted to come out strong.”
And come out strong they did. Zootown got off to a quick start with a 16-1 decision against Billings in its morning game.
Newbary started dealing early, clearing the first inning with three straight strikeouts. The All-Stars’ bats fired up in the bottom of the inning, breezing through the batting order and scoring six runs.
Billings’ Brittanee Fisher opened up the second inning by crushing a ball that almost cleared the center-field fence, but instead fell for a double. She scored Billings’ only run of the game after a passed ball.
Zootown broke things open in the third inning.
Missoula loaded the bases early in the inning, leading to Sierrah Hardy’s two-run single. A Kendall Rauk single produced a throwing error to bring in Frankie Schwenk.
The All-Stars scored three more runs soon after with an RBI single courtesy of Taylor Holmes and two runners walked in after consecutive batters were hit by pitches with the bases loaded.
Callie McKillop capped the inning for Zootown with a three-run double that dropped off the fence to put the game out of reach. McKillop finished 2 for 2 with three RBIs, while Hardy went 2 for 3 with a single, a double and four RBIs.
Missoula brought in its final two runs in the fourth inning, scoring the first off a bases-loaded walk and the second from another bean by the Billings pitcher. The game ended in the fifth due to Little League mercy rules.
Zootown had to dodge some pitches in the win however, having five batters hit during the game.
“It’s very scary, but we went out there and weren’t afraid of the ball,” Holmes said. “We just wanted to hit.”
Zootown kept up its hitting in the afternoon game, but it was its pitching that dominated in a 15-0 win against Northern California.
All three Zootown pitchers contributed to a no-hitter for Missoula, allowing only three girls to reach base for Northern California with none advancing past second.
Newbary repeated her stellar performance on the mound, striking out six batters in her two innings of work. Newbary was replaced in the fourth by Hannah Hirning, who continued the effort by allowing only one base runner. The game was closed by Rauk.
Missoula continued its tear at the plate early, batting around in the first inning while putting seven runs on the board. Quincy Preston finished the assault by launching an inside-the-park two-run homer to center field.
After a quiet second inning, Zootown got its bats going again in the third.
Hardy hit an RBI double to get the scoring going. She scored a run herself after an error on a ground out, finishing the game 2 for 2 from the plate. Holly Hale added an RBI single.
The All-Stars continued to pour it on in the fourth. A McKillop RBI double brought in Meggie Delaney. Holmes produced an RBI single and Joslynn Haran forced an error on a fly ball to score another to get the score to 13-0.
Hirning opened the fifth with a triple to center field that almost became a home run, but she scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat. Shelby Shourd brought in Zootown’s final run of the game after reaching on error.
Hirning said she didn’t want to be the one to lose the no-hitter, but it was nice knowing she had the other girls to back her up in case anything happened.
“I just didn’t want any runs to score,” Hirning said. “These games give us a lot of confidence for these tougher games coming up.”
Miltko agreed with the sentiment.
“Really proud of my pitchers and the defensive effort today,” Miltko said. “We got two tough matchups tomorrow, but these girls are ready to play.”
Zootown returns to Playfair Park for another day of pool matchups on Saturday. The All-Stars face Washington at 12:15 p.m. on field nine and Oregon at 6 p.m. on field seven.
Zootown 16, Billings 1
Billings 010 00 – 1 4 5
Zootown 608 2x – 16 6 0
W – Macey Newbary. L – Kylee Hergenrider.
BILLINGS – Madison Harris 0-2, Hergenrider 1-2, Jade Spooner 0-1, Jessie Schmitz 1-2, Payton Meyer 0-2, Alexis Ford 0-2, Brittanee Fisher 2-2, Ali Davie 0-1, Valerie Jennings 0-2, Trisha Johnson 0-1.
ZOOTOWN – Newbary 0-2, Hannah Hirning 0-0, Kendall Rauk 0-2, Joslynn Haran 0-0, Adessa Gagner 1-3, Taylor Holmes 1-3, Megan Delaney 0-1, Frankie Schwenk 0-2, Jamie Schafer 0-3, Sierrah Hardy 2-3, Callie McKillop 2-2, Kaylee Rosenbaum 0-0, Holly Hale 0-1, Quincy Preston 0-0.
2B – Fisher, McKillop. RBIs – Newbary, Hirning, Rauk 2, Schafer, Hardy 2, McKillop 3, Hale, Preston.
Zootown 15, N. California 0
Zootown 703 32 – 15 11 1
N. California 000 00 – 0 0 8
W – Newbary. L – Derica Boyd.
ZOOTOWN – Maggie Miltko 1-1, Newbary 0-3, Hirning 1-1, Rauk 0-1, Haran 0-2, Gagner 1-2, Holmes 1-3, Delaney 1-2, Schwenk 0-2, Schafer 0-1, Hardy 2-2, McKillop 2-3, Rosebaum 0-1, Hale 1-3, Shelby Shourds 0-2, Preston 1-2.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Boyd 0-2, Sydney Cave 0-2, MaKenzie Hannon 0-1, Lauren King 0-1, Lauren Manning 0-1, Brook Miller 0-1, Brianne Rios 0-2, Karina Rosselli 0-1, Hannah Ruvalcaba 0-2, Maci Sheppard 0-2.
2B – Hirning, Hardy, McKillop. 3B – Hardy, Preston. RBIs – Newbary, Holmes 2, Schwenk, Hardy, McKillop, Hale, Shourds, Preston.