BUTTE — Jim LeProwse has proved he's a capable baseball coach in his first year with the Butte Miners, who are zeroing in a No. 1 seed at the upcoming South A District Tournament.
That success hasn't gone unnoticed and has earned him the position as Butte High's first baseball coach. The Bulldogs are slate for their inaugural season in 2023. Butte High and Belgrade are set to be the first Class AA teams.
"I'm really excited," LeProwse said before the Miners doubleheader against the Belgrade Bandits on Friday at 3 Legends Stadium. "To be the first one ever is quite an honor without a doubt and I'm really excited to see what we can do."
Before LeProwse, who took over the Butte Miners from his brother Jeff this season, can turn his attention to building Butte High's baseball program, he'll be guiding the Miners through the Class A playoffs, starting with the district tournament which Butte will host.
The top two seeds advance to the state tournament and host Belgrade is automatically given one of those berths. That means that if Belgrade isn't one of the two teams in the district title game, the winner moves on to state while the loser will see their season come to a close.
High stakes, but for a Miners team that is on the cusp of clinching the No. 1 district seed — a split in the regular season finale against the Helena Reps on Sunday would seal it — being in this position would have been hard to predict three seasons ago when dwindling participation numbers and a lack of success at the Class AA level compelled Butte to drop to Class A.
This turnaround season has been quite the ride for LeProwse and the Miners.
"It's been awesome," LeProwse said. "You couldn't hand pick a better bunch of kids to coach. They buy in to what we put out there, they do everything we ask them to do. They work hard, they got great attitudes, everybody knows their role."
The sport of baseball appears to be making a comeback in Butte. And LeProwse hopes to be at the helm of both of its teams for a while.
"It's been a fantastic ride," LeProwse said. "I'm no where close to being done yet. I got another good 10, 12, 15 year sin me before I'm ready to even think about giving it up."