HELENA — CMR's Kendal Blades unloaded a game-changing home run in the top of the seventh inning that allowed the Rustlers softball team to secure a 7-5 victory in both team’s conference openers Thursday at Northwest Park.
Capital (0-2, 0-2) struggled in their back-to-back losses to CMR and Great Falls in the two games the Bruins played.
Bruins coach Mike Miller, whose team is young after graduating several players, said the Bruins have promise.
“We have a very inexperienced team, but we saw many positives, and (our team) gave up too many opportunities, and we didn’t get the ball over the plate, and didn’t make the plays when we needed to," Millers said. "In the big picture, we saw a lot of bright spots, and we plan on getting better.”
CMR’s Lauren Lindseth was 2-for-5 with an RBI and Kiely Gunderson was 3-for-4 on the night.
The Bruins, who collected a total of eight hits in the game, were led by Madison Davis, who went 2-for-4. Jaedyn Kent was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
CMR Coach Lindsey Gustafson was proud of the way team responded against both Capital and Helena as the Rustlers (1-1, 1-1) split the series.
“Defensively we had a few stumbles, and it was nice to come back and get a victory in the second game,” Gustafson said. “We still have a lot to work on, and it’s good to split, and I am happy with that, and I know we need to get better (as the season progresses), and we need just to keep growing each day.”
Great Falls 6, Capital 4
Capital fell to Great Falls 6-4 in its other game Thursday afternoon. Great Falls’ Annie Toon catapulted the Bison to an early first inning lead, and then a single by Morgan Sunchild and Mady Ray followed by a sacrifice fly by Skylar Anthony allowed the Bison to gain a quick 3-0 advantage in the second inning.
The Bison were led by Toon, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
Miller said he was pleased with the way his team adapted.
“We battled back, and we are working on much stuff,” Miller said. “I saw many girls trying to work on things and saw a few bright spots. We are trying to change many things in our lineup and change is always hard, and I saw our girls making attempts at that, and I was proud of that.”
Bruins pitcher Nicole Ames pitched a complete game, throwing seven innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and striking out two batters.
Capital’s Madison Davis was 2-for-3 with two home runs and two RBIs on the night.
Great Falls 12, Helena 9
Helena lost to Great Falls Thursday afternoon at home. The Bengals had two home runs with Vanessa Walsh and Veronica Hansen homering.
Great Falls (2-0, 2-0) broke open the game in the fifth inning when Toon and Madylynn Ray both drove in runs on RBI singles.
Bison pitcher Shea LaRocque pitched a complete game and surrendered six runs on seven hits over four and third innings, striking out six, and walking one.
Helena 4, CMR 2
Helena defeated CMR 4-2 Thursday in the other game. The Bengals (1-1,1-1) were led by Rhyse Struble, who singled on a 2-2 count, to score two runs in the winning effort.