Butte (MT) hits 3 bombs, holds off Service 13-11 in Utah

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Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 6, 2022

The Butte Miners of Montana brought some thunder and lightning to the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament.

Butte bashed three home runs off three different Service Post 28 pitchers to build a big lead before hanging on for a 13-11 victory over the Cougars in a winner’s bracket game in Vernal, Utah.

Zach Tierney hit two home runs and Cayde Stajcar smacked another one as part of a 12-hit attack for the Miners (42-9), who moved to 2-0 in the tournament.

Tierney and Stajcar hit back-to-back jacks in the fourth inning as the Montana state champion built a 12-7 advantage.

The Cougars shot themselves in the foot with six errors – including five in one inning – yet they still found themselves in position to win the game at the end.

Service (23-12) scored two runs in the seventh inning and had the tying run in scoring position before the game ended on a pop up with the bases loaded. A common thread as the Alaska team left 11 runners on base.

Hunter Christian also hit a home run – one of four in the game – in a 10-hit attack. He launched a laser to left field over the 18-foot-tall fence.

The dimensions of the high school field are 330 feet down the lines and 380 to straightaway center field, although the altitude and 89-degree weather helped the ball fly out of the yard.

Vernal has an elevation of 5,328 feet. By comparison, Anchorage is at sea level.

Tierney’s first home run would have been out of any park in the country and might have hit the building across the street. The mammoth shot to left field gave Butte a 6-5 lead the Miners would never relinquish.

The third inning was a nightmare for the Cougars, as three players combined for five errors. When the dust settled, Butte had turned game upside down, turning a 5-2 deficit into a 9-5 advantage.

Credit Christian for immediately helping Service get that bad taste out of its mouth after he crushed a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. Owen Hickman’s RBI single five batters later pulled the Cougars with 9-7, and suddenly we had a game again.

But then the Miners responded with another crooked number, thanks to back-to-back bombs to center field that might have been flyouts at Mulcahy Stadium.

Christian turned an 4-3 double play behind reliever Michael Sculley in the fifth inning that helped Service enjoy its lone 1-2-3 frame.

The Cougars pulled within 12-9 in the sixth inning on Sebastian Fournier’s two-out infield single. He hustled all the way down the line, signaling Service’s willingness to stay in the fight.

In the seventh, Sean Giffen and Hickman delivered RBIs to pull Service within 13-11, and Kolby Jensen reached base on a seven-pitch walk against two different relief pitchers to make things interesting at the end.

With two runners on, Jensen faced a 1-2 count when Butte made a move to the bullpen and called on closer George Riojas.

Riojas’ first pitch was a curveball that didn’t break and nearly hit Jensen’s helmet, but he kept his head and earned a base on balls to keep the line moving.

The game lasted nearly three hours.

Service is back at it Sunday in an elimination game against Ridgeline (UT) at 2 p.m. ADT.