GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Helena Senators' stay at the Class AA Northwest regional tournament came to an end Thursday with a 4-3 defeat to Portland, Ore., in nine innings at Hladky Memorial Stadium.
The Senators, the Montana-Alberta Legion state champions, trailed by a run in the bottom of the seventh but forced extra innings on an RBI groundout by Colt Tietje. But after a scoreless eighth, Portland got the go-ahead (and eventual winning) run in the top of the ninth on Eric Altmark's run-scoring single.
Helena got a single from Cole Graham to lead off the bottom of the ninth but was retired on a double play. Sam Ark singled with two outs but was left stranded on first base when the game ended.
The Senators, who lost 7-1 to Cheyenne, Wyo., in the first round Wednesday, finished their season with a 52-17 record. Portland moves on to play in another loser-out game Friday at 4 p.m.
Graham and Aaron Fuzesy each had two hits for Helena on Thursday. Graham's two-RBI single in the bottom of the fourth tied the game 2-2. Walker Bennett had a double for for the Senators, who totaled 10 hits.
Ian Salbeda hit a solo home run for Portland in the top of the second against Helena starter Will Lyng. Lyng threw eight innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with one strikeout and three walks.
Helena was making its second appearance at the Northwest regional in the past three seasons. The winner of the regional tournament will advance to the Legion World Series beginning Aug. 10 in Shelby, N.C.