The Helena Senators -- sparked by Kienan Stief’s fourth hit and second RBI, and reliever Tanner McMahon’s fifth straight shutout inning -- broke a 4-all tie with three runs in the eighth inning and the Senators pulled out a 7-4 victory over the Billings Scarlets at the State AA Legion baseball tournament on Thursday night in Bozeman.
The fourth seed, Helena’s quarterfinal win advances the squad to the Montana-Alberta AA semifinals versus the No. 3 Missoula Mavs. Game time is set for Friday at 7 p.m.
The Senators took a 4-3 lead after three frames, before Billings knotted the score at 4 in the fourth. Both clubs' relievers, the Scarlets' Clay Cebull and McMahon, then battled evenly for the next 3 ½ innings, until Helena’s explosive eighth.
Carter Pappas led off with a walk, Ryan Arntson reached on a fielder's choice, Colin Sassano walked, and Conor McCarvel, Stief and Ray Moore Jr. all singled.
Senators starter Tayler Carlson worked 2 2/3 innings before giving way to relief. McMahon proceeded to go the final 6 1/3 frames, allowing four hits and one run while striking out two and allowing a pair of walks.
Stief led his squad’s 10-hit attack with a 4-for-5 effort, producing a pair of RBIs and stealing a base. Sassano ripped a double and also drove in two runs, while Moore rapped a couple of base knocks, with a two-bagger and an RBI. Arntson scored twice.
The Senators have now won 10 of their last 12 games.
“What a game! These guys really want to win,” texted Helena coach Dave Thennis. “Tanner McMahon was the difference. He settled us down and took control of the ballgame.”
Payton Stovall (2 for 3, double, RBI) and Cebull (double, RBI) led the Magic City group’s offense.