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HELENA — The Helena High softball team dominated visiting Missoula Hellgate in a doubleheader during the season's Western Conference opener on Tuesday, sweeping the Knights 18-1 and 20-3.

Both contests were halted in the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.

"Offensively, I thought we did some good things today, and both of our young pitchers threw well," Helena coach Ryan Schulte said.

The Bengals pounded out 25 hits, with 10 going for extra bases, including three home runs.

Leading the hit parade were Mariah English, Kali Anderson and Vanessa Walsh.

English rapped four hits — all for extra bases — with three doubles and a homer, while posting eight RBIs. Anderson stroked five hits with a double, and drove in seven runs. Walsh had six hits with a homer, and four RBIs.

Also joining the fun were Jamie Pickens with three doubles, and McKenna Schmolke, who went yard and registered four RBIs.  

On the rubber, English fired a 1-hitter, while striking out 11 (just four under the maximum), with one walk. Kathryn Shipley had the Lady Knights' lone hit, and Haleigh Irwin was saddled with the loss.

In the nightcap, Tyliegh Burchard twirled a five-hitter, fanning seven and walking one. Shipley had two doubles for Hellgate, while Irwin again suffered the defeat.

"Every girl had a hit or an RBI today, and all 20 runs in the second game were RBIs," said Schulte, who guided the Bengals to the third-place trophy at last year's state tournament. "Our pitchers worked really hard on throwing to good locations and understanding their counts.

"Defensively, we still need to clean up some things, but I attribute that to lack of turns on the field rather than mental issues."

The Bengals continue the season with two games today against the Great Falls school on the road. They play at 1 and 3 p.m.

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- Curt Synness, 406mtsports.com

Football clinic

Carroll College football will run a free children's clinic at noon April 21 at Nelson Stadium ahead of the team's annual spring game, which will take place at 1 p.m.

The clinic is open to boys and girls in grades K-5 and will be conducted by the Carroll players and coaches.

There is no registration required for the clinic, so participants are encouraged to be early.

The clinic was originally scheduled for this Saturday, but weather concerns pushed the clinic back a week.

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Associate Sports Editor

Associate Sports Editor for The Independent Record

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