POLSON -- Billings Central bowed out of the State A softball tournament on Friday with a pair of losses, while Livingston remained alive by stringing together three victories in loser-out contests.
The Rams were knocked out by Belgrade 5-4 after losing to defending champion Frenchtown 7-0 in the quarterfinals earlier in the day. Central finished its season at 14-9.
Belgrade took advantage of three Central errors in the top of the sixth inning to score three runs and take the lead for keeps at 5-3.
Kindall Bethke and Alli Alstrom socked home runs in the game for Belgrade, which had just four hits.
Central collected 14 hits, including three from Addy Daubert. Allison Walter, Morgan Smith and Mackenzie Redman had two hits apiece for the Rams.
The Panthers (18-9) will now face Central A foe Livingston (15-10) in the fourth-place game at 9 a.m. The winner will remain in state championship contention.
Both Belgrade and Livingston won three loser-out games apiece on Friday.
The Panthers beat Miles City 8-6, Polson 7-5 and Billings Central. The Rangers' three-game tear included wins over Laurel 11-10, Butte Central 11-2 and Hamilton 8-6.
Against Hamilton, Livingston jumped ahead 5-1 in the top of the second inning. Hamilton was within 7-6 after five innings, but the Rangers held on.
Earlier in the afternoon, Frenchtown pitcher Morgan Ray had a perfect game going against the Rams through five innings.
Central pinch-hitter Jessie Schmitz spoiled Ray's bid for perfection with a two-out bloop single just inside the right-field line in the sixth inning.
Ray struck out nine batters.
Central's Molly Day fanned eight Broncs.
Frenchtown (21-1) will face Northwest A rival Libby (19-5) in the unbeaten semifinal game at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Libby blanked Hamilton 4-0 in the other quarterfinal behind the no-hit pitching of Hannah England, who struck out 16 and walked four.
The first championship game is set for 1 p.m., followed by a second game, if necessary, at 3 p.m.
In loser-out games on Friday morning, Laurel was eliminated by Livingston and Miles City was ousted by Belgrade.
Laurel ended its season at 12-10, while Miles City finished at 9-11.