Lewistown’s Cassi Miller played Home Run Derby on Tuesday at Stewart Park, but Billings Central got the vital hits -- and the essential runs -- to overcome the long ball.
From leadoff hitter Aubrey Walter down to No. 9 batter Maggie Meyer, the Rams received contributions throughout their lineup for a 10-7 victory. They scored six runs in the second inning to build an early lead, then held on as pitcher Molly Day closed the door.
“We always talk about having confidence at the plate, and I think we did that tonight,” said Central catcher Addy Daubert.
Daubert’s RBI double off the top of the fence in center was one of the key hits of the Rams’ second-inning outburst. Walter had another, hitting a double to bring in Meyer from third.
Meyer tripled earlier to lead off the inning. She was so aggressive on the base paths that she daringly ran through a stop sign at second base from coach Coleman Rockwell. But she beat the throw and put her team in a good position.
“The Maggie Meyer hit was a big hit,” said Rockwell, whose team improved to 2-1. “I had her holding at second, but she wasn’t stopping. That kind of got us going. I thought that was the start of a big inning. But everybody hit the ball well.”
Central was up 8-2 entering the top of the third, but that’s when Miller blasted the first of her two long home runs over the left-center field fence. Miller’s second homer -- they were both two-run shots -- brought Lewistown within 8-7 in the fifth.
But the Rams scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, including one on an infield single from Mackenzie Redman. Day, who had 16 strikeouts in a victory last weekend, finished with seven Ks and got out of the sixth and seventh innings unscathed to finish with another win.
Lewistown scored twice in the top of the first to gain an edge, but were burned by a three errors on top of Central’s timely hitting. The Rams scored twice in the bottom half of the first to tie the game.
“We got back into it,” said Lewistown coach Mike Mangold. “There were a few bloopers that scooted through us at crucial times that killed us, and we also shot ourselves in the foot with some unforced errors.
“I’ve been stressing to the girls that the team that plays better defense is going to win the game, and we just didn’t play better defense.”
Redman and Morgan Smith each had two RBIs for the Rams. Miller, who pitched 5 1/3 innings for Lewistown before being relieved by Maddie Comes, finished 3 for 3 and had five RBIs.
Miller "doesn’t chase bad pitches," Rockwell said. "She’s looking for her pitch. She waited for the ball that was in her spot, and then they went out. Really good discipline.”