The final score may have looked a bit lopsided but there were a ton of positives that came out of Butte Central's 8-1 defeat at the hands of the top-ranked Belgrade Panthers Wednesday afternoon at 3 Legends Stadium.

Senior pitcher Rye Doherty went 5 2/3 innings, striking out 8 and giving up only 2 walks while holding the high-powered Belgrade offense to only 2 runs through 4 innings of work.  However, a bit of fatigue would set in during the 5th as the Panthers got 4 runs across the plate with 2 of the baserunners coming off of hit batsmen.  Doherty would get into a bit of a jam in the top of the 6th giving up a leadoff double to Gage Banks and hitting the following 2 batters, centerfielder Sawyer Olson and catcher Diego Casas, loading the bases.  The Senior captain would keep his cool, though, fanning the next two batters before leaving the game.  Freshman Colt Hassler would take the mound and get a popup on his first pitch of the game, ending the inning with Belgrade up 6-0.

Butte Central catcher Gunnar O'Brien gets an RBI single in the bottom of the 7th. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media
Butte Central catcher Gunnar O'Brien gets an RBI single in the bottom of the 7th. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

The Panthers would tack on 2 insurance runs in the 7th, but the young Maroons would not go down easily.  Doherty, now the first baseman, led off the inning with a double and would advance to third off of a rare misplay by Panthers shortstop Jaeden Jacksha off the bat of Hasler.  Freshman catcher Gunnar O'Brien would get a hit to short centerfield, scoring Doherty and putting the Maroons on the board.  Belgrade pitcher Keenan Kraft, however, would strike out the next 3 Central batters giving the Panthers the 8-1 win.

Butte Central assistant Brian Doherty was especially proud of his son's performance and role as a leader on the young team.  "Oh, man, I couldn't be prouder of Rye," Brian said.  "His leadership this year went way up and I think that carries over from Legion ball.  He's on a young team with a lot of young kids and the best thing about this season is that every single game we've played, those kids got better."

The Maroons will wrap up their two-game homestand tomorrow afternoon at 3pm agains the Lone Peak Bighorns.

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