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Plains Trotters carry momentum into tournament

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | May 17, 2023 12:00 AM

Don’t look now, but the Plains Trotters may be breaking into a gallop.

The fast pitch softball team that began the 2023 season 0-6 has won eight of its last 14 games.

And they appear to be reaching an apex with the high school playoffs beginning this week in Anaconda.

Good timing for sure from the girls in black and orange.

Last Thursday the Trotters swept a pair of home games from Troy and Loyola Sacred Heart. Those two victories pushed their season record to 8-12 as the team has begun pulling the essential elements of hitting, defense and solid pitching into a cohesive team attack.

This past Thursday Plains hosted Troy at Plains High School. After surrendering a solo run in the top of the second, the Trotters struck back with three in their half of the inning to grab a 3-1 lead.

They plated those three runs thanks to a three-run homer off the bat of Aliyah Heathers, who drove in sophomore Maddy Blood and Kassidy O’Keefe with the blast after Blood walked and O’Keefe singled.

Neither team scored in the third and Troy was shutout in the top of the fourth. Plains then erupted for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-1 lead. Senior Carlie Wagoner reached base on a single, followed by a pair of walks to Jaelyn Carr and Marissa Young. Wagoner crossed home via a bases load walk to Piper Bergstrom.

That brought up Blood and crushed a grand slam home run to center field.

Troy scored a single run in the top of the fifth, then allowed a pair of Trotters’ runs in the bottom of the fifth, making it 10-2 in favor of Plains.

Troy came to bat in the top of the sixth and scored eight runs to tie the game at 10-10.

Plains regrouped and put up three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 13-10 lead with one inning to play. Blood opened the inning with a single, then stole second and scored on a single by Izzy Crabb. Junior Aubrey Butcher then smacked a two RBI triple, driving in Crabb and Heathers to take the three-run lead.

Troy scored once in the top of the seventh inning, but it was not enough to overcome the Plains advantage and the Trotters won, 13-11.

Both teams racked up 13 hits in the game. Wagoner was 3-5 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, while Blood’s grand slam gave her four RBIs for the game on two hits in three trips to the plate.

Heathers was 2-3 with three RBIs for the home team.

Wagoner pitched 5.1 innings, giving up nine hits and eight earned runs while striking out 10 Troy hitters.

Later that afternoon, Plains took on Loyola, also in Plains, and gave up a single run in the top of the third.

The Trotters quickly answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning on a two RBI triple by Butcher, who drove in Crabb and Heathers. Butcher stole home for the third run of the inning.

Neither team scored in the fourth or fifth innings, with Loyola being shut out the rest of the game. Plains pushed home a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, one of them on an RBI double by Blood and another on an RBI triple by O’Keefe that drove in Blood.

Crabb was 2-3 with an RBI, while Butcher went 3-3 at the plate and drove home two runs. Bergstrom went the distance on the mound for the Trotters, yielding one earned run on three hits and striking out three Loyola batters.

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Plains sophomore Aliyah Heathers slides safely into home with one of 13 runs the Trotters scored in their 13-11 win over Troy this past Thursday in Plains. (Tracy Scott/Valley Press)

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Plains pitcher Piper Bergstrom winds and delivers a pitch toward home during the Trotters win over Loyola this past Thursday in Plains. (Tracy Scott photo)