Nolan Rattai and his Medicine Hat teammates aren’t ready to head back north just yet.
Rattai grinded through 8 2/3 innings and also scored a pair of runs as the Moose Monarchs staved off elimination at the State AA Legion baseball tournament Thursday at Dehler Park with an 8-7 win over Helena.
“I didn’t come down here to play two games and go home,” Rattai said shortly after his 136-pitch performance. “I know my teammates didn’t either so there was no way I was coming off that mound until I had too.”
Helena struck first when Troy Arntson scored the first of his three runs on a wild pitch in the top of the first inning. Led by Rattai, the Moose Monarchs came back as Rattai walked and stole second base before scoring on Andy Scott’s RBI-single to tie the score at one in their half of the inning.
The teams traded runs again in the third and the score remained tied at three until Dan Hansen’s RBI single put the Senators up 4-3. But the Moose Monarchs answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth as Rattai doubled and scored on on Konner Lutz's double to right.
The Senators knotted the game up again in the seventh when Arntson scored from first base on an attempted steal. Arntson broke for second and catcher Konner Lutz's throw sailed into left center, allowing him to take third and continue home as the throw from center fielder Brad Paradis was delayed.
Medicine Hat regained the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh when they scored three times to give Rattai some insurance. Rattai allowed 15 hits and seven earned runs but walked just one.
Ultimately, the Moose Monarchs were forced to go to the bullpen as the Senators plated two runs and had the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Kaid Lutz came on to retire the only batter he faced to extend Medicine Hat's season for at least one more day.
"We're too good of a team to come down here and go home after two games," Rattai added. "We got a win under our belts and get to play another day. We just have to play one day at time right now."
Paradis finished 3 for 4 at the plate as Medicine Hat pounded out 14 base hits. Arntson went 3 for 4 and scored four runs for the Senators.
Medicine Hat will play the loser of Thursday winner's-bracket game between Bozeman and Great Falls, which was suspended by rain and will be completed Friday.
NOTES: Tanner Ross, who was ejected from Medicine Hat's loss on Wednesday went 1-3 with an RBI on Thursday.