HELENA — Helena Capital softball coach Mike Miller had a discussion with his ace pitcher Nicole Ames earlier in the week about becoming a more dynamic pitcher.
That conversation translated into success on the field as Ames struck out nine batters in her six-inning, complete-game performance against Missoula Sentinel in the Bruins' 2-1 victory Tuesday afternoon at Northwest Park.
The Bruins (10-6, 8-3) claimed their doubleheader series with two wins over Sentinel (13-4, 10-2), and a 15-0 shutout of Big Sky Monday afternoon at Capital High School.
“This game is the last time we played (Capital), and we played them a great game, and it’s anyone’s ball game, and (Ames) was at a different level today,” Sentinel manager Dustin Delridge said. “She seemed like she was more focused, and she did an outstanding job, and kept (our hitters) off balance.”
Ames also got a surprise after the game when she was the recipient of the Jude Gleason Award, which is a distinguished honor given to a dynamic athlete every year.
The Bruins knotted the game up in the bottom of the third inning when Ames single drove in Jenny Priddy.
Ames wasn’t the only Bruin that had the spotlight. With the game tied 1-1, Capital’s Madison Davis launched a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth inning that allowed Capital to the secure the conference victory over the Spartans.
“(Davis’s swing) wasn’t just a big ole’ swing, she’s a tall, strong girl, and put it all together, and made contact, and the ball goes out of the park,” Miller said. “That is important as anything in the whole game, and if we don’t’ have that hit, we are still playing if we are lucky.”
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The win built momentum as the teams inch closer to the MHSA Class AA Divisional Tournament, according to Ames.
“We took a few losses against Glacier, and Sentinel, and the momentum swing, and winning, and working together it’ll be easier,” Ames said. “We have potential, even though we a young team, and we often get overlooked, and we will be strong.”
Capital dominates Big Sky
Capital High dominated Big Sky 15-0 in their victory Tuesday night at Northwest Park.
The Bruins gave their three pitchers plenty of run support in the blowout over Big Sky, a team still searching for its first-ever conference victory.
The offensive scoring barrage came from singles by Ally McMillan, Madison Davis, and Mashayla O Malley, doubles by Kendall Isaacson and Isaacson, a walk by Lauren Archie, and a home run by Riley Ames.
Capital scattered 13 hits in the game. O Malley, Priddy, and Isaacson all had multiple hits. Isaacson, Priddy, and O Malley each collected two hits. The Bruins was sure-handed in the field and didn't commit a single error. Archie had the most chances in the field with four.