It looked like Katie Kent was going to be the game's hero for Billings Skyview.
Instead it was Jaimee Paffhausen for Butte.
The Lady Bulldogs senior hit a go-ahead two-run double in the top of the seventh, then pitched out of trouble in the bottom half of the inning to lead Butte to a 4-3 Eastern AA softball win Friday afternoon at Skyview. The Falcons bounced back for a 9-6 non-conference win in the second game of the doubleheader.
Paffhausen drove in three runs in the conference game, and she scattered seven Falcons hits to help Butte to a win in its conference opener.
"Seems like she's done this to us for three years now," said Skyview's Michael Falcon, who is in his third season as coach at the school. "To give ourselves a chance to battle back like that shows us that we're not going to give up and we're not going to give in, and that's good to see."
Skyview had to battle back because Paffhausen's arm and bat helped stake Butte to a 2-0 lead.
Alex Thatcher and Paffhausen hit back-to-back, two-out solo home runs in the top of the third, while Paffhausen quietly handcuffed the Falcons through five innings.
Skyview struck in the sixth, though, when Heidi Riley led off with a double and Amber Meyers legged out an infield hit to put runners on the corners with one out. Kent then hit a long shot that easily cleared the center-field fence for a 3-2 lead, and it appeared Skyview was on its way to a second consecutive conference win.
But Callie Bosch and Thatcher worked two-out walks off Skyview starter Meg Reitz, and Paffhausen followed with a line drive to left field that took a large hop and bounced over the head of Julia Gutierrez, allowing both runners to score.
Paffhausen got out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh when the Lady Bulldogs tagged out Caitlin Shanz in a rundown between third base and home and then, with runners on first and second, Kaitlyn Frenk grounded out to second to end the game.
"It was a great win," Butte coach Steve Stosich said. "We think we have a good team, and what we did today showed is that we really do have a good team. But we have to get a little better."
Skyview took the non-conference game behind a 15-hit attack. Meyers hit her fourth home run of the season and drove in three runs for the Falcons, who stand at 4-4 overall and 1-1 in the league after Friday's play. Riley had three hits for Skyview, as did Gutierrez, who also drove in two runs.
"We came out and hit the ball really well," Falcon said. "We executed a little better in the second game and cleaned some things up."
The Falcons take on Great Falls High in doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon at the Skyview field. Both contests count as conference games.
"I think they're going to be a pretty solid team this year," Falcon said. "It'll be a really good test for us."