ANACONDA -- Frenchtown proved why it is the two-time defending state champion, and Morgan Ray showed why she's is considered one of the best players in the state as the Broncs rolled past Butte Central, 10-0, in a five-inning second round game at the Class A state tournament.
The loss drops Central into the consolation bracket where it will face Laurel from the Eastern A division at 9 a.m. this morning.
Ray, who has committed to play at Ohio State, kept a deep Maroons lineup silent, limiting it to just two hits -- one in the first inning and one in the fifth inning -- while walking none and racking up nine strikeouts.
Ray was also a force at the plate for the Broncs, belting a pair of no doubt two-run home runs.
"They're a great team," Central coach Kelci Thatcher said. "Morgan Ray is as good an athlete as there is without a doubt. They're a good team, but we didn't produce at all.
"We went away from what worked for us. They're defending champs, so you come in a little nervous, but we got away from what we do well."
Frenchtown wasted little time getting on the board when, in the bottom of the first, Ray connected for a two-run shot to left.
The lead jumped to 5-0 in the second when Brooke Yarnall crushed a three-run home run.
Then the weather struck, literally, as thunder and lighting were spotted in the area and heavy rain began to fall. The game was delayed over an hour, and made the field unplayable, forcing a move to an adjacent spare field.
After the break, the Broncs picked up where they left of, adding two more runs after a Central error to take a 7-0 lead after two.
In the third, Yarnall singled home a run for her fourth RBI to make it 8-0, then Ray followed with her second two-run homer of the game to stretch it to 10-0.
"They're a good team," Thatcher said. "They hit a lot of home runs."
Mollie Peoples and Taylor Wahl had the hits for Butte Central.
The Maroons will now try and put this game behind them and turn their focus to Laurel, which dropped a 3-0 decision to Libby in its opener to fall into the consolation bracket.
"That game is over," Thatcher said. "It's not over and our hopes are still alive, we just need to come out ready to play and do the little things right."
Frenchtown advances to the semifinals where it will meet Northwest rival Polson at 1 p.m. Polson defeated Anaconda and Billings Central to reach the semifinals of the winners' bracket.
In the Maroons' first game, they squandered early chances with runners in scoring position, but came through in the clutch to rally past Park for a 4-3 win in the day's opener.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, catcher Corbyn Holm stepped to the plate. After fouling off four pitches, she finally won the battle with Park's Sierra Higgs, hitting a single between the first and second basemen to score Kloie Thatcher for the walk-off win.
"We kind of let her do her own thing," Thatcher said of Holm's at bat. "She's sound and has been on lately. They're so competitive and determined that I don't really need to say much in those big situations."
In addition to the walk-off hit, Holm added two doubles earlier in the game.
The Maroons trailed 3-2 entering the sixth inning, when Holm led off with her second double.
Following a sacrifice bunt, and a pop-up, the pressure was on freshman outfield Kassidy Criscuolo, who came through by beating out an infield single to score Holm, tying the game at 3-3 heading to the seventh.
"They didn't give up even when they were down," Thatcher said. "They fought the whole time, they really produced the last couple innings."
The Rangers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Higgs singled home lead-off hitter Meghan Gibson on the third hit of the inning.
Central answered in the bottom of the second when Megan Michelotti drove in Teresa Piazzola on a ground out to tie the game 1-1.
But Park responded in the top of the third with two runs to take a 3-1 lead. Emily Cornell doubles to bring in Gibson, then Higgs followed with her second RBI single of the game.
From there Piazzola settled in on the mound, allowing just two base runners over the final 4 2-3 innings, a single in the fifth, and another runner who reached on an error in the sixth.
Piazzola picked up the win by tossing all seven innings, scattering seven hits, and striking out 11.
Central cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the third when Mollie Peoples drove home Emily St. John with a ground out after she had tripled.
Freshman Kloie Thatcher added a double and a triple for the Maroons.
Park fell into the elimination bracket, where it will face Libby at 11 a.m. Friday.