Looking to keep their state tournament dreams alive Friday, the Helena Senators rallied in the eighth to pull even with Bozeman at Kindrick Legion Field.
Their joy was short-lived, however, as the Bucks immediately responded with a pair of ninth-inning runs, eliminating the Sens with a 9-7 win.
Bozeman’s Adam Hubley, who has family in the Helena area, led off the ninth with an infield single come-backer. He was sacrificed to second, and then moments later scored the winning run on an RBI single by Bailey Paddock.
The Bucks then added an insurance run to go up by two, and held the Senators at bay in their last at-bat of the season.
No. 6 Bozeman advances to Saturday’s 7 p.m. game versus the Billings Scarlets.
Helena, seeded eighth, took an early 2-1 lead in the first inning on Payton Pappas’ two-run single, scoring Koby Griffin and Nick Wrigg.
Bozeman knotted the score in the third frame before erupting for four runs in the fourth.
The Senators, though, came back from deficits of 6-2 and 7-4, before evening the score again in the eighth.
Helena’s two runs in that frame came on a single by Reilly Leary, who advanced to third on a two-base throwing error on a pick-off attempt.
After Koby Griffin’s single brought in Leary, Nick Wrigg singled, Kienan Stief was plunked by a pitch, and Jackson Thennis worked an RBI walk, tying it at 7.
But then after Bozeman went back up by two, reliever Andrew Purpura set the Senators down in order in the ninth to secure the win.
Helena matched the Bucks with 13 hits, but was hampered by three fielding errors — four of Bozeman’s runs were unearned — and had three runners cut down at either home plate or third, in close plays.
“I like my guys,” Senators coach Dave Thennis said. “In this program, one of the things we pride ourselves on is playing the game with heart, meaning working hard, having enthusiasm, and carrying a good attitude.
“What we’re after is self respect. To play with tenacity, and today, that’s we got. I’m very proud of them; you can’t question their heart, and that’s all I can ask.”
Jenner Kearns led Bozeman with two singles and three RBIs.
The Senators were paced by Nick Wrigg, who went 4 for 5, scored twice and stole two bases. Griffin was 3 for 3, and Dorvall was 2 for 2. Danny Burton laced a double.
Starting pitcher Ryan Dorvall was the first of four Helena hurlers in the contest, followed by relievers Danny Burton, Riley Pickens and Jack Shevalier. Shevalier sustained the defeat.
The Senators advanced to Friday’s game when they halted an eight-game losing streak on Thursday with a victory over Kalispell.
“We hung in there and tied it up at the end, and gave ourselves a chance to win,” the Helena skipper said. “It was a good year for us. Sure we wanted to win (today) and stick around for awhile, but the kids worked hard, and I’m happy for them.”
Bozeman 9, Helena 7
Bozeman – 101 401 002 — 9 13 1
Helena – 200 020 120 — 7 13 3
Thomas Morris (4.1), Conner Tweet (2.0), Morgan Hostetler (1.0), Andrew Purpura (1.2); Ryan Dorvall (3.1), Danny Burton (2.1), Riley Pickens (2.1), Jack Shevalier (1.0). W – Purpura, L – Shevalier.
BOZEMAN — Bailey Paddock 2-6, Bennet Hostetler 2-5, DJ Perdaems 1-3, Jenner Kearns 2-4, Joel Thayer 1-4, Morgan Hostetler 1-5, Adam Hubley 2-5, Austin Fransden 1-4, Robert Samson 1-4, Andrew Purprura 0-0.
HELENA (34-29) — Reilly Leary 2-5, Koby Griffin 3-4, Nick Wrigg 4-5, Kienan Stief 0-2, Payton Pappas 1-3, Jackson Thennis 0-3, Henry Bowers 0-1, Jackson Maynard 0-4, Danny Burton 1-2, Ryan Dorvall 2-4, Carter Pappas 0-1, Chase Rook 0-1, Riley Pickens 0-1.
2B – Samson, Burton; RBIs – Kearns 3, B Hostetler 2, Payton Pappas 2, Paddock, Perdaems, Thayer, Hubley, Leary, Griffin, Stief, Thennis, Dorvall.
Billings Scarlets 5, Billings Royals 2
In a Magic City battle of tourney unbeatens, the Scarlets took the measure of the Royals, 5-2.
The No. 1 Scarlets led all the way, bursting out to a 2-0 advantage in the opening inning, and extending it 5-1 by the eighth frame.
Jalen Garcia (double) and Jake McGovern posted two RBIs each for the winners. Scarlets pitcher Gordon Sveinsom scattered nine hits in eight innings, fanning nine and walking just one.
The No. 2 Royals were led by Patrick Zimmer, at 3 for 4. Calvin Bjorgum was hung with the pitching loss.
Missoula 8, Lethbridge 4 (Loser out)
The defending state champion Missoula Mavericks used a balanced offense to support the six-hit, complete game pitching of Trevor Dickey, in eliminating Lethbridge from the tourney Friday, by a score of 8-4.
Kip Vetos had three hits for the Mavs, followed by Ben Tabaracci and Jonathan Mitchell, with two base knocks each. Zanon Fulbright and Walker Kay drove in two runs apiece.
Lethbridge was paced by the two hits of Nick Ankermann and Carter Witbeck’s pair of RBIs.