HELENA — Even though the Western AA divisional softball tournament moved to Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid the potential for weather-related cancellations, the Kalispell Glacier Wolfpack and the Missoula Sentinel Spartans didn't seem to mind. The two teams ran the gauntlet on Tuesday and will meet one another in the Western AA championship game on Wednesday.
Helena High and Helena Capital also punched their tickets to the State AA tournament and will determine the third seed on Wednesday as well.
Below is a short summary of the games played on Tuesday.
Game 1: Missoula Sentinel 12, Missoula Big Sky 1, first round
The day started with a bit of Missoula crosstown action as the Spartans and the Eagles went toe to toe, and the Spartans went to task early putting up seven runs in just two innings. The Eagles scratched one across in the third, but that would be about it for their offense as the Spartans tacked on five more runs to put the game in their pocket early through five innings
Game 2: Helena Capital 18, Kalispell Flathead 7, first round
The Bravettes jumped out to an early lead after a two-run blast, but Helena Capital had a monstrous game with four home runs in the first two innings, tacking on a few more runs to run up the score 13-3 through three innings in favor of the Bruins. The Bravettes didn't roll over, however. Flathead battled back and added four more in the game, but the Bruins' offense was just too stout in finishing of the Bravettes in just six innings.
Game 3: Helena High 6, Butte 4, first round
The Bengals and the Bulldogs played the only game in the first round that went all seven innings and was close all the way throughout. Down to their final three outs in the game, the Bulldogs were able to bring the tying run to the plate but were unable to rally and cash in to pull out a victory.
Game 4: Kalispell Glacier 32, Missoula Hellgate 0, first round
The Wolfpack found their way into the Montana High School Association record books in several categories in their first-round game against the Knights after scoring 31 runs in the first inning alone. The Wolfpack are now:
T9: Most Runs in a game by both teams
T8: Most Runs in a game by one team
1st: Most runs in an inning
Game 5: Kalispell Flathead 12, Missoula Big Sky 11, loser-out
In a close game where the season hung in the balance, the Flathead Bravettes persevered after falling down by more than five runs. The Bravettes rallied back and shut down the Eagles' offense late to hang on and advance to the next round.
Game 6: Butte 18, Missoula Hellgate 2, loser-out
The Bulldogs didn't seem to let the early loss bother them as they rallied back in their loser-out game to down the Knights and advance to take on Helena Capital in another loser-out game later on Tuesday.
Game 7: Missoula Sentinel 3, Helena Capital 2, semifinal
The semifinal round brought with it the first pitchers' duel of the day with the Spartans coming out on top after Morgan Holmes hit a fly ball to right field to score Emma Ries to walk off the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the win, the Spartans lock up at least the Western AA's second seed.
Game 8: Kalispell Glacier 16, Helena High 10, semifinal
The second semifinal game of the day was the opposite to the first. Through one inning the Bengals and Wolfpack drew to a 2-2 tie before the Bengals jumped out to a 5-2 lead through two innings. Despite struggling on the mound early in the game, Glacier's Kynzie Mohl contributed in the batter's box, sending two balls over the fence en rout to a 16-10 win. With the win, the Wolfpack lock up at least the Western AA's second seed.
Game 9: Helena Capital 6, Butte 2, loser-out
Through six innings, the Bulldogs and the Bruins were knotted at 1-1, but the Bruins scratched two across and Jenna Priddy went deep with a three-run homer to give the Bruins a 6-1 lead late that would hold. With the win, the Bruins secure their spot in the State AA softball tournament.
Game 10: Helena High 18, Kalispell Flathead 9, loser-out
In their third and final game of the day, the Bengals came out firing on all cylinders and put up nine runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead. The Bravettes refused to let their season slip away without a fight and got the game within three runs, but the Bengals' offense continued to run wild through the back half of the game. With the win, the Bengals secure their spot in the State AA softball tournament.