“It didn’t go the way I planned,” Helena coach Dave Thennis said after his Senators were defeated 11-1 in eight innings by the Billings Scarlets during the opening round of the Alberta-Montana American Legion AA State Tournament on Wednesday.
The No. 1 Scarlets advance to Thursday’s 7 p.m. game versus Missoula at Kindrick Legion Field in the championship bracket, while the No. 8 Senators will meet Kalispell at 12:30 in an elimination contest.
Helena fell behind early, 3-0 after two innings, and then got on the scoreboard in the fifth frame to make it 3-1 before Billings scored five runs in the sixth and three in the eighth to end the game on the 10-run rule.
The Senators were hampered by six fielding errors, a critical base running error, and numerous runners left on base — including three stanzas ending with men stranded on third.
Helena’s lone run occurred when Ryan Dorvall singled after two out in the fifth, stole second, advanced to third on Reilly Leary’s single, and then came home on a balk.
Scarlets starting pitcher A.J. Smith, a wiry left-hander, spread-out nine hits while striking out six and walking two. Helena used four pitchers — Riley Pickens, Kenny Wilson, Danny Burton and Henry Bowers — with Pickens taking the loss.
Jake McGovern led the Magic City’s 18-hit onslaught, going 3 for 4, with three RBIs. Cole Jones went 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
The Senators were led at the plate by Leary and Dorvall, with three hits apiece.
“All-around it was a rough night,” Thennis said. “Early on we had some opportunities to make it interesting before the game got away from us. We knew they were going to be a handful, but you just can’t give a good team like the Scarlets six extra outs, plus the extra bases to get guys in scoring position.
“We’ll just have get back after it tomorrow.”
Scarlets 11, Senators 1 (8)
Helena – 000 010 00 — 1 9 6
Scarlets – 210 005 03 — 11 18 1
AJ Smith (8); Riley Pickens (1), Kenny Wilson (4.2), Danny Burton (1.1), Henry Bowers (.2). W – Smith, L – Pickens.
SENATORS — Reilly Leary 3-4, Koby Griffin 0-3, Nick Wrigg 1-4, Kienan Stief 0-4, Jackson Thennis 0-4, Payton Pappas 1-3, Carter Pappas 0-3, Danny Burton 1-4, Ryan Dorvall 3-3.
SCARLETS — Cole Jones 3-5, Jackson Cobb 2-3, Jalen Garcia 2-5, Jake McGovern 3-4, Jayson Leinwand 2-5, Cage Golden 1-5, Gordon Sveinson 2-5, Elijah Sommerville 2-5, Riley Bruns 1-5.
2B — Sveinson; RBIs – McGovern 3, Sommerville 2, Jones 2, Bruns, Sveinson, Leinwand.
Bozeman 8, Lethbridge 2
The No. 6 Bozeman Bucks kicked off the state tourney with an 8-2 win over No. 3 Lethbridge. Bozeman pitcher Aaron Hubley twirled a complete game for the win, scattering eight hits, allowing no earned runs and striking out five batsmen.
DJ Perdaems sparked Bozeman’s 12-hit, going 2 for 5 at the plate, with a double and four runs batted in. Morgan Hostetler was 3 for 5.
Lethbridge was paced by Carter Witbeck, going 2 for 4 with a double and a pair of RBIs. Landon Bourassa sustained the loss.
Bozeman will meet the Royals at 4 p.m. Thursday in the championship round, while Lethbridge takes on Medicine Hat in an elimination tilt at 9:30 a.m.
Missoula 10, Kalispell 3
No. 4 Missoula Mavericks trimmed No. 5 Kalispell 10-3, behind the seven-hit pitching of Austin Bohnsack; and the hitting of Ben Tabaracci, who went 4 for 5 with a double and an RBI, and Zanon Fulbright’s two RBIs.
Andrew Schluesner and Tiler Whiteaker had two hits apiece for the Lakers. Robert Reaser was tabbed with the defeat.
Billings Royals 10, Medicine Hat 8
The No. 2 Billings Royals shaded No. 7 Medicine Hat by two, sparked by a five-run outburst in the sixth inning. Matt Dillon swung the big bat for the Royals, going 4 for 4, with a home run and four RBIs. Austin Vogel pitched the win.
Medicine Hat was led by Zach Kunkel and Austin Schibler (double), with two hits and a pair of RBIs each. Justin Logan suffered the loss on the mound.