GREAT FALLS – Billings West will return home with another State AA softball tournament trophy in hand.
The Golden Bears guaranteed themselves of at least third place with a 5-0 win over Great Falls CMR in a loser-out game Friday at the Multi-Sports Complex.
Lexi Mayhood allowed just two hits and struck out seven to get the shutout. Taylor Ostwald homered as the Bears broke open a scoreless game through four innings with a two-run fifth and a three-run seventh.
West dropped into loser-out play with a 7-4 loss to Kalispell Glacier earlier in the day. The Bears (22-5) get a shot at revenge when they meet the Wolfpack (16-6) in the loser-out semifinal at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The winner of that game advances to play Great Falls High for the championship. The Bison (21-5) reached the title game with an 8-6 semifinal win over Glacier, marking the second consecutive year they’ve made the championship round unbeaten.
West won consecutive games on Friday following the morning loss to Glacier. Before beating CMR, the Bears handled Missoula Big Sky 10-1 behind a home run from Haley Swan and four RBIs from Makenzie Shellnutt.
Pitcher Jalen Creech threw six straight shutout innings.
Last season CMR defeated the Bison twice in the championship to win the title. West or Glacier would have to do the same Saturday to take home the title.
In other loser-out games Friday, Helena Capital eliminated Butte 7-3 and Big Sky defeated Missoula Sentinel 9-3.