In the famous words of Herm Edwards, “you play to win the game.”
Ask Butte Central head softball coach Kelci Thatcher if there is a difference in winning either a state, league, non-league, or imaginary game and she’d probably tell the person next to her, that the win is what matters regardless of the when, where, and what.
So on Thursday, Thatcher watched her Maroons fall behind 7-0 after three Park High School frames and the Central girls would fall 11-5 in non-league action at Copper Mountain.
Thatcher would end up using three pitchers as Central starter Taylor Marthaller went two innings, Mikayla Boggs went 3.2 innings, and Teresa Piazzola wrapped things by recording the last four outs.
“It’s frustrating for me losing even if it is non-conference but I had to see where Taylor and Boggs were,” Thatcher said. “It’s important to see down-the-line where they are at.”
Marthaller took the loss for the Maroons.
Boggs recorded six strike outs and four walks after a slow start, while Piazzola retired all four batters she faced.
“Boggs is really throwing well,” Thatcher said. “It’s tough coming into a game down five and they are hitting the ball. She didn’t have a lot of time to warm up and did a good job under the circumstances.”
The biggest damage Park inflicted came in the top half of the second and sixth innings as they scored four runs in both.
Cassidy Versland’s two-run homerun in the top of the third made it 7-0 in favor of Park, who used six singles in the sixth to increase their edge to 11-3.
“(Park) executed and were able to string together hits and that is something we haven’t done very well,” Thatcher said. “We can’t get four of five hits in a row. We may get one or two an inning, but we aren’t where I want us to be, yet. We need to go to the plate and be aggressive and hit with confidence. We need to relax and play the game of softball.”
Central scored three runs in their half of the third inning when Shelby Paffhausen scored on a Shannon McLaughlin single and Hannah Stajcar came around to home on a Park throwing error.
One batter later Marthaller singled McLaughlin home and it was 7-3.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Piazzola singled home Shawnee Hjelt who knocked a one-out double. A Park error on a hard hit ball by Danika Neumann brought home Piazzola to make it 11-5, but Central couldn’t make use of their final five outs and would take the loss.
Thatcher would like to see her girls record more long strings of hits in innings, something that has been missing since the 12-run, bottom of the first showing in their opener against Corvallis.
“It’s frustrating because I feel we can do better,” Neumann said. “We need to be more competitive. We have some younger kids that play key roles and need to step up and are doing okay, but we all need to step up overall. We have to go up to the batter box with confidence that we can hit the ball.”
Both Cassidy and Hailey Versland recorded three-hit performance for the winning Park team and Haley Dowdell earned the win from the mound.
Central, which had nine hits, got three from McLaughlin and one hit each from Aleesha LaBreche Marthaller, Boggs, Hjelt, Paffhausen, and Piazzola.
“We were okay, but we missed signals again which we have been working on,” Thatcher said. “We left seven runners on base and we need to be more consistent when we have runners to move them. We have to be solid on every pitch and every play.”
Park 142 004 0 — 11 13 4
BC 003 002 0 — 5 9 1
Meghan Gibson 1-4, Jacey Schleicher 1-5, Haley Dowdell 0-3, Meadow Ingram 1-4, Hailey Versland 3-5, Katie Lynn Kraus 1-3, Cassidy Versland 3-4, Sierra Higgs 2-4, Alexandra Schaeffer 1-3.
Danika Neumann 0-4, Hannah Stajcar 0-4, Shannon McLaughlin 3-4, Katie Hogart 0-3, Taylor Marthaller 1-3, Mikayla Boggs 1-4, Aleesha LaBreche 1-3, Kate Ossello 0-1, Shawnee Hjelt 1-3, Shelby Paffhausen 1-2, Teresa Piazzola 1-1.
WP - Dowdell, LP - Marthaller.
HR — Versland; 2B — Ingram, Versland, McLaughlin, Hjelt; RBI — Versland 4, Ingram 2, Schleicher, Dowdell, Higgs, Schaeffer; McLaughlin, Marthaller, Piazzola.