After beating Livingston 4-3 in 10 innings in the tournament semifinals in Belgrade on Sunday, the Reps advanced to the finals against Deer Lodge, where they prevailed 11-8. The Wranglers were unbeaten and in the cat-bird seat, meaning Helena will need to beat them again to claim the title. The game takes place at 10 a.m. Monday.
The last time the Reps appeared in the district championship contest was 2003, when they placed runner-up. If coach Jon Burnett’s diamonders can get the best of Deer Lodge, it will be their first Southern A crown since 2000.
By reaching the chipper, Helena automatically qualifies for the State A Tournament, which takes place in Kalispell July 30 to August 3. Their last appearance at State was 2013, when they hosted the tourney in Helena.
The win over Deer Lodge avenged Helena’s first round loss to the Wranglers on Thursday.
Sassano led the 15-hit attack going 4-5, with McCarvel going 3-4 with a double and three RBIs. Byrne was 3-4, Moore banged a couple hits, and Isaiah Meza, Rosston and Seth Schneider (double) posted two RBIs each.
Reps starter Max Nielsen earned the win, working six innings and scattering seven hits, with no earned runs allowed. Kellan Elder and Caleb Jackson came in in relief, in the seventh and eighth frames.