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The weather is hot for the final spurt of the Butte Miners, who took first place

The weather is hot for the final spurt of the Butte Miners, who took first place
The weather is hot for the final spurt of the Butte Miners, who took first place

By Bruce Sayler

The baseball team arrived in Butte before baseball weather this year.
The Butte Miners got off to a fast start, embarking on their third consecutive successful season in American Legion Baseball Class A under their third head coach, Jim LeProwse. They have amassed an overall record of 20-9 and have had only a few days of high temperatures to prove themselves. Temperatures are forecast to be in the 30s this week, and the Butte club faces a doubleheader against the Helena Reps at 5 p.m. Friday at the even hotter Kindrick-Legion Field in the capital city.
“Yeah, it’s been another good season,” LeProwse agreed. “We’re 12-4 (in the league) and leading the conference with only four conference games left.”
The Butte team completed a doubleheader split in Belgrade on Tuesday evening.
The two games in Helena and then two more in Bozeman on July 15 are the only league games remaining on the Miners’ schedule. The team also has two non-conference home games remaining – against the Bitterroot Red Sox on July 18 and the Bitterroot Bucs on July 20 to close out the regular season at 3 Legends Stadium.
The district tournament, scheduled for July 25, will be held in Belgrade and the State Tournament A will be held for the first time in Polson on July 31.
The Butte club’s success was built on its facets – hitting, pitching and defense were all good and the main roles were played by veteran players in the program, some of whom had been on the field for the three years of LeProwse’s tenure as a Miner.
“Anthony Knott is the offensive leader of our team and has a batting average of .462,” the coach said. “Ethan Cunningham also hits really well.”
“Ethan Cunningham and Derek Dunmire are our two guys on the hill.”
Cunningham has a .369 batting average and a 5-2 pitching record with a 1.95 earned run average. Other heavy hitters include Will Stepan at .342, Zack O’Connell at .339, Matthew Donaldson at .324 and Tocher Lee at .302. Montana high school baseball’s Gatorade Player of the Year Cayde Stajcar also adds firepower to the lineup when he’s 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 hit home runs. Quinn Cox, Logan Carden, Tegan Duffy and Karsen McEwen were other top contributors at the plate.
Dunmire has a 4-2 record on the mound and a 3.78 ERA. He also has one save in a relief appearance. Gavin Trudgeon has three wins on the mound, while Lucas Harris-Huerta checks in with a paltry 1.80 ERA.
The team also has good pitchers like Donaldson, Jaxon Williamson and Stajcar. Experienced catcher Cox does a good job behind the plate and with the bat.
Both the weather and the miners are heading into the end of the season hot.