MISSOULA — We’re starting to get down to the nitty gritty as the 2023 Class AA Montana-Alberta American Legion Baseball State Tournament enters its third day. By the end of Monday, there will only be four teams left in the hunt for a state championship.
The jury is still out on which is hotter: Walker Bennett batting with runners in scoring position or dry rub buffalo – his favorite Buffalo Wild Wings seasoning.
Helena, thanks, in part, to Bennett’s go-ahead three-RBI double in the third inning of Monday night’s undefeated semifinal game, the Senators are headed back to the state championship game.
It’s the fourth straight year Helena will make an appearance on the final day of the state tournament.
“First-pitch fastball, I knew that’s where I wanted it – that’s what I needed,” Bennett said of his clutch third-inning at-bat.
“I just missed that first one. Then, he threw me a high curveball, which I knew I didn’t want, then he threw me that same fastball and I just put the barrel on the ball.”
Bennett walked off the Scarlets with a solo home run on June 27, but went down with a hamstring injury a week later. Since, he had been struggling to regain his pre-injury form, adding a certain gratification to Monday’s knock.
Helena's Walker Bennett celebrates after hitting a three-RBI double during the AA Legion state baseball tournament game between the Billings Scarlets and Helena Senators at Lindborg-Cregg Field, Monday, July 24, 2023. BEN ALLAN SMITH Missoulian