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Team-first attitude has Butte Miners leading South A District

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jun 21, 2024

BUTTE — Jim LeProwse, the head coach of the Butte Miners, figures he's been coaching this game for about three decades. Along the way, he's figured out that placing the team above the individual is generally a winning formula.

"I've been coaching for somewhere around 30 years and there is nothing that replaces team chemistry and a team-first mentality," said LeProwse. "I've coached some super talented teams and if you have too many individuals it deters from what you're trying to do."

This summer's Miners team has bought in and that's led to them leading the South A District (14-2 overall, 8-0 in conference play) at about the midpoint of the season. Butte swept the Gallatin Valley Outlaws on the road on Thursday (6-3 in Game 1, 10-2 in Game 2) to maintain its unblemished conference record.

"It's everything," said senior catcher Quinn Cox of how his team's strong bond has translated into an unbeaten start to conference play. "Our coach really does a great job of installing that. It starts in practice, practicing the right way and it carries out onto the baseball field for sure."

Last season, the Miners headed to the State A tournament as the reigning champs after claiming the 2022 title for its first state championship since 1953. The Miners fell short of their goal of earning back-to-back titles, bowing out on Day 3 and going 1-2 at state.

This year's team has seven players that were part of that 2022 run that saw the Miners go on to win the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament for the first time ever.

Wanting to experience that championship feeling again is providing plenty of fuel for those seven.

"It's just a driver for all of us," said super senior pitcher Ethan Cunningham who through the past five games has an ERA of just 1.167. "Just got some more experience, we realized what it feels like to lose. We'll go back with some experience and even some younger dudes that are gonna be ready to go by tournament time."