GREAT FALLS — The State AA Legion tournament is just outside of a week away and the Great Falls Chargers are adding numbers to their win column and climbing up the standings.
The Chargers entered a series this week with Medicine Hat in fifth place at 8-8 in the Class AA conference but put together two wins out of their three games to improve to 10-9.
They began the series with a strong 9-1 victory. The Chargers got out to a 3-0 lead in the first but had their backs against the wall in the top of the second. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Monarchs’ Aiden Eckersall stepped up top the plate with an opportunity to drive in some runs and get on the board.
But that matchup was won by Chargers pitcher Austin Armstrong as he got Eckersall swinging for the final out. The Monarchs got on the board in the third with a solo home run from Evan Morrison but they’d have no more luck at the plate for the remainder of game one.
The Chargers ran up the score in the fifth and sixth inning and carried that momentum into the second game of the double header.
The Chargers dominated Game 2 by a score of 12-2 and wrapped it up by the end of the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule. They jumped out to a similar lead as the first game, holding a 3-0 lead at the end of the first.
By the time the bottom of the third inning was starting, the lead had grown to 5-1 but the Chargers were just getting ready to put their foot on the gas. They drove in six more runs during the half inning to make it 11-1 before cruising to their second victory of the day.
Thursday afternoon was a new day for the Monarchs. After having struggles at the plate in the first two games, bats began to heat up at the right time. Monarchs got on the board first as Jeffery Bullock started his day off with an RBI single. However, the Chargers would respond in a big way in the bottom of the first.
With runners on the corners, Landon Lockwood left no doubt about it as he sent a three-run blast beyond the gates in center field. Medicine Hat evened the score 3-3 early in the third and would proceed to take a 4-3 lead after Trevin Ressler dropped one into the outfield for an RBI single.
The lead was short lived for the Monarchs as Seamus Sullivan nearly hit the second home run of the game for the Chargers but it fell short of the gate. His efforts were good enough to bring in the tying run from third and they would take a 5-4 lead on a sacrifice fly on the following at bat.
Medicine Hat had an answer of their own this time as Evan Morrison ties the game with an RBI single in the top of the fifth. Ressler stepped up to the place once again but this time with runners on second and third. He sends another one into centerfield but this time it drives in two runs and thew Monarchs found themselves with a 7-5 lead.
The bottom of the seventh is where things began to heat up. Chargers trailed 8-5 and wanted to give themselves a chance to extend the game. With zero outs and the bases loaded, Trigg Mapes batted in a run to bring the deficit down to just two. Bases still loaded as Lockwood returns to the plate and he hit a sac fly that would put the first out on the board but an added run would make it 8-7.
The Monarchs made as pitching change as Cade Harrison took over the mound. He stepped in with bases loaded again and Lane Seim at the plate for the Chargers. His first three pitches resulted in a 3-0 count and began to look like the Chargers would have an easy tying run.
But Harrison stepped up when needed and got Seim swinging for the second out. Mason Davis was the last hope for the Chargers sweep but his fly ball resulted in an easy final out as the Monarchs held on to win 8-7.
The Monarchs finished the series with an overall record of 8-13 but remain in the top eight in the standings.