HELENA — The Missoula Sentinel Spartans cruised to victory and a top seed in the State AA softball tournament on Wednesday, beating the Kalispell Glacier Wolfpack 13-3 in the Western AA divisional championship game.
Early in the contest, the Wolfpack stayed on the Spartans' case as the game drew to a 0-0 tie through two innings. But the Spartans found some momentum in the top of the third, capped off by a Keena Kay hit to bring in a run to make it 2-0
The Spartans continued to keep their foot on the gas as some heads-up base running by Kodi Fraser and Kay in the top of the fourth made it 3-0 before Addy Gaub dropped a base hit in to score another run.
The Wolfpack, needing a spark, got one from Kynzie Mohl, who smoked another home run for the tournament to bring the Wolfpack within three in the bottom of the fourth, but the Spartans shook off the solo shot to pad their lead with three runs in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Wolfpack called on Mohl again and she delivered, sending a two-run bomb to left field to bring the score to 8-3 through five innings. But in the top half of the sixth, the runs the Wolfpack gained back vanished.
Sentinel's Haley Wolsky hit a home run that was almost robbed by Haley Schroeder. A two-RBI single by Gaub and a fielder's choice put the Spartans well out in front, 12-3, on their way to the 13-3 victory.
With the win, the Spartans locked up the top seed in the Western AA and will face the Great Falls High Bison to open the State AA tournament while the Wolfpack will play the Billing Senior Broncs. The State AA tournament is May 27-29 at Kalispell.
Just one field over, the Helena High Bengals and the Helena Capital Bruins were meeting in their third crosstown matchup of the year, but the 6-2 Capital victory played a bit bigger role as the Bruins locked up the third seed with the victory.
The Bruins scratched runs across first capped off by an Anna Cockhill RBI triple that put the Bruins out in front 3-0 through two innings.
In the bottom of the inning, Helena High's Amber Countryman took Kathryn Emmert deep to get the Bengals on the board at 3-1 where the game stayed until the top of the fifth.
In the top of the fifth, Emmert slapped a hard grounder through the right side to get aboard before Nyela Hearndon took Alyssa Koenig deep to give the Bruins a 5-1 lead.
With the win, the Bruins draw the most recent addition to the Eastern AA in the Belgrade Panthers to open the tournament, while the Bengals draw the East's top seed in the Billings West Golden Bears.