Weather heats for first-place Butte Miners’ stretch run

By Bruce Sayler

The baseball team arrived before the baseball weather did to Butte this year.
The Butte Miners started fast while launching their third straight successful American Legion baseball Class A season under third-year head coach Jim LeProwse. They’ve built a 20-9 overall record with few high-temperature days in which to perform. This week, forecasts are for the 90s and the Butte club faces a Friday 5 p.m. doubleheader against the Helena Reps at even hotter Kindrick-Legion Field in The Capital City.
“Yes, it has been another good season,” LeProwse agreed. “We are 12-4 (in league counters) and leading the conference with only four conference games left.”
The Butte team is coming off a Tuesday night doubleheader split at Belgrade.
The two games at Helena and then two more at Bozeman on July 15 are the only league contests left on the Miners’ schedule. The team also has two home non-conference doubleheaders left – vs. the Bitterroot Red Sox on July 18, and against the Bitterroot Bucs on July 20 to finish the regular season at 3 Legends Stadium.
The district tournament, set for July 25, is to be held in Belgrade and the State A tourney is slated for a July 31 first pitch in Polson.
The Butte club’s success has rested in the facets – the hitting, pitching and defense have all been good and lead roles are being played by program veterans. Several have seen time on the field as Miners all three years of LeProwse’s tenure.
“Anthony Knott leads our team, offensively, and is hitting .462,” the coach said. “Ethan Cunningham is also hitting really well.
“Ethan Cunningham and Derek Dunmire are our two guys on the mound.”
Cunningham bats .369 and also sports a 5-2 pitching record with a 1.95 earned run average. More heavy hitters include Will Stepan at .342, Zack O’Connell .339, Matthew Donaldson .324 and Tocher Lee .302. Montana high school baseball Gatorade Player of the Year Cayde Stajcar also lends punch to the lineup when available. He also plays for a regional all-star team.
Knott, Cunningham and Lee lead the team in runs batted in with 25, 19 and 17 respectively. Knott and O’Connell have slugged home runs. Quinn Cox, Logan Carden, Tegan Duffy and Karsen McEwen have been other top contributors at the plate.
Dunmire owns a 4-2 record on the mound and has a 3.78 ERA. He also has a save in a relief stint. Gavin Trudgeon has three wins on the hill while Lucas Harris-Huerta checks in with a stingy 1.80 ERA.
The team has also received good pitching from Donaldson, Jaxon Williamson and Stajcar. Veteran catcher Cox does a good job behind the plate and with the bat.
The weather and the Miners both go into the tail of the season hot.

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