HELENA — Helena Capital High softball coach Mike Miller said he knows his team still has a lot of work to do.
But the Bruins took a giant leap forward when they stepped in the batter’s box on Tuesday afternoon.
Capital slugged a season-high 20 runs in the first game of a doubleheader against Missoula Hellgate on Tuesday afternoon at Northwest Park.
The Bruins (7-5, 5-2) won the first game 20-2 and then completed the sweep with a 10-1 win after that.
“We hit the ball well (and) that’s always good,” Miller said.
It didn’t take long for Capital’s offense to wake up when it exploded for 14 runs in the second inning of the first game.
It seemed like every Bruins player, up and down the roster, drove in runs. Sophomore second baseman Jenna Priddy started the inning off with a two-run-single to left field while Lauren Archie followed it up with a two-run single of her own.
When senior catcher Sara Bury stepped up to the plate for the second time in the inning she belted a two-run home run.
Capital batted around twice and had six players finished the inning with RBIs.
With the Bruins in firm control Miller let senior pitcher Nicole Ames rest after two innings and brought in Madison Davis.
Davis gave up two runs on RBI-doubles by Hellgate's Dreayla Haran and Maddy Butler, but the rally ended quickly after retiring the final five batters to claim the win.
“Maddy did a nice job coming in so Nicole wasn’t throwing the whole time,” Miller said. “Regardless of the big lead, I wanted to mix it up anyway. I know (Nicole) will be throwing a lot more innings for us in the future.”
During the second game, Capital’s offense was pretty quiet during the first two innings.
That was until Bury stepped up to the plate again.
She sent the first pitch over the center field fence for a three-run home run. It was her second big fly of the day.
Afterward, Bury said she doesn’t really describe herself as a home run hitter.
“I just focus on getting hits,” said Bury, who finished with four hits and nine RBIs on the day. “I’ve had my ups and my downs, but I have really improved over the last few years.”
Despite looking up from another big deficit, Hellgate (4-11, 2-5) prevented the shutout when Haran singled home Butler in the fifth inning.
While Hellgate has just four wins this season, and as it returns home for a game against Kalispell Glacier on Thursday, coach Brad Shaffer said he looks at this series as an opportunity to get at-bats against good pitchers.
“Capital is a good team,” Shaffer said. “We put the ball in play, and I think we are coming along. It can definitely help us with our games later in the week.”
As for Capital, the Bruins also continue their season on Thursday when they travel to Missoula Sentinel and Big Sky before returning home on May 7 for the crosstown game against Helena.
“I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of how good we can be yet,” Miller said. “A couple of wins here was a good start.”