The No. 2-seeded Senators again flexed their offensive muscles and got a dazzling pitching performance from Mike Hurlbert to beat No. 6 Kalispell 11-0 in 4½ innings and emphatically march on in the State AA tournament Thursday at Dehler Park.
The outcome set up a showdown between Helena (46-12) and the top-seeded Billings Royals (34-23) in the all-important undefeated semifinal game Friday at 7 p.m. The winner of that contest will earn a berth in Sunday’s championship round.
It will be a rematch of last season’s title matchup won by the Senators, which snapped a 17-year championship drought. The Royals beat Helena in the undefeated semi last year. Billings, seeking its first crown since 2018, edged No. 5 Great Falls 12-11 in Thursday’s other winners’ bracket game.
“I'm excited for it,” said Helena’s Hunter Wallis, who drove in two runs and scored two others on Thursday. “I know it's going to be really good game. It's not going to be a blowout for either side.
“They're a good team. They got us in conference a couple times, but I have a ton of confidence in every single one of our guys to go out there and compete, and I think we can definitely come out with another one tomorrow.”
Helena teammates Trysten Mooney, left, and Walker Bennett share a high-five during the Senators' 11-0 victory over Kalispell on Thursday at Dehler Park. MIKE CLARK, 406mtsports.com