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State AA softball: West and Senior, Glacier and Capital set to meet in semis

Posted at 5:25 PM, May 24, 2024

HELENA — After a weather-induced postponement and relocation, the State AA softball tournament got underway a day late and about 90 miles from its original site.

Originally scheduled to begin Thursday at the Belgrade Softball Complex, the tournament instead kicked off on the fields at Helena High and Helena Capital after a late-spring snow storm blanketed the fields in Belgrade.

At the end of Day 1, Billings West, Billings Senior, defending champion Kalispell Glacier and Helena Capital were the lone remaining undefeated teams, with Senior and Capital winning both first and second round games.

The Golden Bears are now set to meet the crosstown rival Broncs in Saturday morning's semis while the Wolfpack will face the Bruins. Both games are slated to begin at 9 a.m.

The winners of those two semis will meet in the undefeated semi at 3 p.m. with the winner automatically earning a spot in the championships, which is set to unfold back in Belgrade on Monday at 7 p.m.

Here's a recap of how all four teams got to this point:

Billings West 8, Helena High 6

The 1E Golden Bears build an 8-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning and then fended off the 4W Bengals who pulled past Great Falls CMR 12-5 in the opening round.

West scored two runs in the bottom of the first and then tacked on a run in the second and fifth innings to go up 4-0. Lileigh Nieto then racked up a 3-RBI triple in the sixth and scored on the next at-bat to make it 8-0. Caris Paul added two RBIs for the Bears and Mya Boos scored on a solo home run.

Ashley Koenig, Kamryn Klemp and Kylee Gardipee each notched a pair of RBIs for the Bengals.

Billings Senior 14, Missoula Big Sky 3

The 3E Broncs topped Kalispell Flathead 9-8 in the first round and against the 2W Eagles built a seven-run lead en-route to a run-rule victory in five innings.

Madi Ban accounted piled up three RBIs for Senior, Octavia Meyer had a pair of RBIs and Lilah Chapel notched a 2-RBI homer in the top of the third inning.

Brooke Schaffer had two RBIs on two hits for the Eagles.

Kalispell Glacier 12, Missoula Sentinel 2

Cass Rankosky hit a walk-off 3-RBI homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to cap off a 7-run inning and power the defending champion and No. 1 Western AA seed Wolfpack to a walk-off victory over the 5W Spartans.

Glacier grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first inning before Sentinel, which beat Bozeman Gallatin 12-10 in the first round, scored a pair of runs in the third. The Wolfpack then tacked on a run in the fourth before rolling to the win in the fifth.

Four other Glacier players accounted for home runs — Kennadie Goudette, Zoey Allen, Ella Farrell and Paishance Haller. Farrell also pitched all five innings, striking out 10 batters along the way.

Helena Capital 10, Belgrade 0

Kathryn Emmert pitched a shutout and struck out 14 batters as the as the 3W Bruins, who beat Skyview 9-5 in the first round, rolled into a semifinal matchup against Glacier.

After leading just 1-0 heading into the top of the fifth inning, Capital piled up three runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to notch the run-rule win.

Ali Miller, Belle Glowacki and Ella Krepps each batted in a pair of runners for the Bruins.