It took a while for the Missoula Hellgate softball team to get rolling in its Tuesday afternoon Western AA doubleheader with Helena Capital at the Rattlesnake Fields. But after the Knights' late rally in the first game fell short, they posted their first victory of the season in the nightcap.
The Bruins survived Hellgate's three-run bottom of seventh to take the opener, 6-4, before the Knights bounced back with a 5-1 win in the nightcap.
Capital broke a 1-1 deadlock by scoring four times in the fifth inning of the first game, adding a single run in the top of the seventh.
But Hellgate began its late-game outburst when Leyna Downey and Cari Maus belted back-to-back RBI doubles, each in their first varsity at-bats. Danni Jo Johnston added an RBI single before the Knights were done.
Halie Hash picked up the win for Capital, going five innings and recording five strikeouts and a pair of walks. Jacie Vonada paced the Bruins' offense and finished 2-for-4.
Jordan Neilson went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI for Hellgate.
Beth McNeil smacked a two-run home run over the fence in left-center field as the Knights stretched their 1-0 lead with a four-run fifth in the second game.
Bonni Shaffer added a double and Nelson had an RBI for Hellgate, which ended the day 1-1 in league and 1-5 overall.
Danielle Axe (1-2) earned the win. She gave up five hits, fanned 10 and walked four.
Capital 100 040 1 - 6 6 1
Hellgate 010 000 3 - 4 7 6
Halie Hash, Katie Boland (6), Ashley Ames (7) and Kallie Heller. D.J. Johnson and Jessa Ouellette. W - Hash. L - Johnson (0-3).
CAPITAL - Heller 1-2, Hash 1-3, Boland 0-1, Kelsey Brekke 1-3, Jordyn Gillespie 1-2, Jacie Vonada 2-4, Ashley Blanton 1-4, Kelley Petrusha 0-2, Liz Baker 0-3, Devin McNellis 0-2.
HELLGATE - Danielle Axe 0-3, Bonni Shaffer 0-3, Danni Jo Johnston 2-4, Johnson 1-3, Ouelette 0-2, Jordan Nelson 2-2, Mary Yoder 0-3, Kaitlyn Horner 0-2, Leyna Downey 1-1, Katie Hendricks 0-2, Cari Maus 1-1.
2B - Johnson, Nelson, Downey, Maus, Hash. RBIs - Nelson, Downey, Maus, Johnston.
Capital 000 000 1 - 1 5 1
Hellgate 100 040 x - 5 6 1
Ames, Hash (5) and Heller. Axe and Shaffer. W - Axe (1-2). L - Ames.
CAPITAL - Heller 0-2, Ames 1-3, Brekke 0-2, Gillespie 0-4, Vonada 1-4, Blanton 1-3, Petrusha 1-3, Megan Graff 1-2, McNellis 0-1, Miranda Pace 0-1.
HELLGATE - Axe 0-2, Shaffer 1-3, Johnston 1-3, Johnson 0-0, Nelson 1-3, Yoder 0-2, Beth McNeil 2-3, Hendircks 1-3, Lynea Adamson 0-2.
2B - Shaffer. HR - McNeil. RBIs - Johnson, Nelson, McNeil, Vonada.
Missoula Big Sky 3, Hamilton 0
At Hamilton, Christy Selway's run-scoring single in the top of the sixth broke a scoreless tie and Western AA Big Sky got the best of the Central A Broncs.
Selway's two-out single drove in Briggett Plenger with the game's first run. Two more came home for the Eagles (3-2) in the seventh on a two-out error.
Big Sky, which was outhit by Hamilton 9-5, was led at the plate by center fielder Ashley O'Reilly, who went 2-for-3.
Selway tossed the complete game, surrendering nine hits and two walks. She struck out seven.
Sarah Callaghan went 2-for-3 with a double for the Broncs.
Big Sky 000 001 2 - 3 5 1
Hamilton 000 000 0 - 0 9 2
Christy Selway and Shelby Quamme. Nicki Koning and Sarah Callaghan. W - Plenger. L - Koning. S - Selway.
BIG SKY - Plenger 1-4, Quamme 0-4, Sarah Lustgraaf 1-3, Selway 1-3, Kelsey LaVaute 0-3, Rachel White 0-3, Kaila Wagener 0-3, Ashley O'Reilly 2-3, Murry Taylor 0-2.
HAMILTON - Amanda Hood 0-4, Samantha Wood 3-4, Callaghan 2-3, Koning 0-4, Annie Schultz 1-2, Kristen Ferguson 1-3, Brittany Keimig 1-3, Melissa Hood 1-3, Kaylie Strandberg 0-2.
2B - Callaghan. RBIs - Selway.
Frenchtown 18, Florence 3
At Frenchtown, junior Shelby Russ tossed a one-hitter and went 4-for-4 at the plate to lead the Central A Broncs over the Western B-C Falcons.
Russ and Frenchtown both improved to 3-1 this year. She pounded two home runs and two doubles and drove in six runs as the game ended early via the 10-run margin rule.
"I have never seen a performance like that," said Broncs head coach Eli Field. "Those balls were crushed. I haven't seen a girl hit a ball that hard that consistently."
Also for Frenchtown, Megan Farmer went 2-for-2 with a double and two runs batted in and Bridget Yarnall had two hits and an RBI.
Russ struck out just three batters. Each team committed two errors.
Kayla Schmid had the lone hit for Florence.
Florence 011 10 - 3 1 2
Frenchtown 71(10) 0x - 18 14 2
Chelsea Ralls and Shanna Moore. Shelby Russ and Jennifer Chapman. W - Russ (3-1). L - Ralls.
FLORENCE - Kayla Schmid 1-2, Kelsi Hoagland 0-3, Moore 0-2, Shelby Meuchel 0-1, Ralls 0-1, Kaitlyn Rolshoven 0-1, Chayla Pederson 0-2, Kayla Daniels 0-2, Cassie Pederson 0-2.
FRENCHTOWN - Alex Duncan 0-2, Kristy Kees 2-2, Aimee Duncan 0-0, Noelle Lebsock 1-2, Russ 4-4, Chapman 1-3, Kali Bennett 1-3, Courtney Hochhalter 0-1, Megan Farmer 2-2, Jamie Willis 1-1, Lacey Lovell 0-1, Kelsey Indreland 1-1, Bridget Yarnall 2-3, Stephanie Klucewich 0-1.
2B - Russ 2, Farmer. HR - Russ 2. RBIs - Russ 6, Chapman, Farmer 2, Lovell, Yarnall, Al. Duncan, Lebsock. Rolshoven.
Libby JV 12, Troy 5
At Troy, the Loggers belted out 17 hits in a defeat of the Western B-C Trojans.
Taylor Armstrong belted a pair of doubles, while Alicia Martin, Larona Lusher, Crystal Shriner and Jordan Refsland collected two hits apiece for Libby. Martin also doubled as the Loggers scored four in the second to pull ahead and six more in the sixth to put it out of reach.
Armstrong allowed nine Troy hits in picking up the complete-game victory. She fanned five and walked one.
Liz Straley went 3-for-4 for the Trojans, who slipped to 4-3.
Libby 041 016 0 - 12 17 2
Troy 010 020 2 - 5 9 6
Taylor Armstrong and Kim Klin. Alica Anderson, Liz Straley (5) and Megan Etienne, Cassidy Hand (5). W - Armstrong. L - Anderson (2-3).
LIBBY - Emily Monroe 0-2, E. Hines 0-2, Klin 2-5, Alicia Martin 2-5, Taylor Martin 1-5, A. Gubham 3-4, Armstrong 2-4, Larona Lusher 2-4, Crystal Shriner 2-4, Sarah Orr 1-2, Jordan Refsland 2-2.
TROY - Delsey Olds 1-4, Straley 3-4, Molly Harpole 2-4, Etienne 0-2, Hand 0-2, Anderson 0-2, Kristin Park 1-1, Ahsley Pasch 1-4, Rachel; Garcia 0-2, Alissa Olds 0-0, Teresa Wagner 0-3, Dolly Blata 0-1, Megan Cummings 1-2, Michelle Pillans 0-1.
2B - A. Martin, Gurbham, Armstrong 2, Orr.