The Bengals defense throws out a runner at first base. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)

GREAT FALLS – Terra Gilchrist struck out 12, and the Helena High Bengals topped Butte 3-1 Thursday to advance at the State AA softball tournament in Great Falls.

Jamie Pickens went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run and an RBI to lead Helena at the plate. Mariah English hit a lead off home run in the third and Gilchrist drove in the final run of the game on a fielders choice in the sixth inning.

Abby Dodge took the loss for Butte, allowing five hits and seven strikeouts. Taylor Huff drove in the lone run for the Bulldogs, driving in Brittany Tierney with a triple to right field in the fifth.

Helena High advances to face defending AA champ CMR, the top seed in the East at 10 a.m. Butte and Missoula Big Sky will meet in loser out action at noon.