As elated as the team was following a lead off triple in the bottom of the seventh by Amy Grevious, there was a moment of despair following two quick outs.
Just one run away from advancing to the state tournament for the first time in program history, Manhattan coach Randy Cygan had an uneasy feeling Saturday in Anaconda.
“I felt a lot better (earlier) than when it was a runner at third with two outs,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh no. Are you kidding me, we’re not going to get a run in with no outs.’”
But Natalie Scott hit a walk-off single a short time later as the Tigers rallied from a 10-5 deficit to beat St. Ignatius/Charlo/Arlee 12-11 in a loser-out game at the Western B-C Divisional.
Manhattan scored three runs in the sixth and then tied the game in the seventh before Scott’s game-winning hit.
“I think we had a strike out and then a pop up and then Natalie came up,” said Cygan. “She flipped one over to second base. Dropped in the outfield behind second base.”
It was the only hit of the game for Scott, who had struck out in her three previous at-bats.
Manhattan tallied 18 hits in the contest, including five extra base hits, and Claire Nolan relieved Meagan Elgas in the sixth en route to earning the victory in the circle.
“We got a lot of timely hits in there. They made a good comeback,” said Cygan. “The whole lineup hit all weekend.”
The Tigers (16-9) got in just one inning of play Friday against Missoula Loyola in their tournament opener before the game was postponed due to rain. The contest resumed Saturday morning and the Breakers won 14-2 in five innings.
Manhattan bounced back against Powell County in loser-out action with an 11-5 victory, and then clinched its berth to state against St. Ignatius.
“I’m just so proud of all the girls. They got all excited when they needed to and came through with some big hits,” said Cygan. “Played a great game against Deer Lodge and then played a great game against Mission.”
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the fourth place game against Plains-Hot Springs, but ran out of gas from there in a 17-9 loss. It was the fourth game of the day for the team, which got up at 5:30 in the morning to make the drive to Anaconda to play Loyola.
“Basically we played four games today. Our pitchers were pretty shot,” said Cygan. “We used three in the last game we played because they were just beat playing four games in one day. Nobody’s ready for that yet. I’m really proud of the fact that we hung in there and took a place.”
The consolation and championship games were not held after tournament director Allen Green opted to decide the seeding following the undefeated semifinal, which Missoula Loyola won against Florence-Carlton, 6-5. Loyola will enter state as the West’s No. 1 seed followed by Florence-Carlton, Plains-Hot Springs and Manhattan.
The three-day state tournament will be held next weekend in Belgrade.
“We didn’t make divisionals last year, so it’s a big step in one year,” said Cygan. “Just proud of them all. They did a great job this weekend.”
Missoula Loyola 14, Manhattan 2
Loyola 354 11 - 14 9 1
Manhattan 001 01 - 2 1 3
McKenna Bessette, Kayla Hickethier (3) and Carly Tipp. Claire Nolan, Lexi Miller (2) and Daela Didriksen. W - Bessette. L - Nolan (4-3).
MISSOULA LOYOLA - Molly McHugh 1-3, Hellie Badaruddin 1-1, Bessette 3-4 (2B, HR), Hickethier 1-3, Tipp 1-3 (2B), Emily Hermes 1-2, Morgan Hall 1-2, Violet Whitegrass 0-4, Stephanie Radcliff 0-2, Michaela Deschamps 0-0.
MANHATTAN (14-8) - Adele Didriksen 0-2, D. Didriksen 1-3 (2B), Amy Grevious 0-1, Shayla Shea 0-1, Malia Friese 0-3, Natalie Scott 0-3, Lizzie Rasnick 0-1, Matilda Dietz 0-1, Casey Elfland 0-2.
Manhattan 11, Powell County 5
Powell 010 110 2 - 5 5 6
Manhattan 041 312 x - 11 10 7
Rilee Gray and Alyssa Lamb. Meagan Elgas and Daela Didriksen. W - Elgas (11-5). L - Gray
POWELL COUNTY (5-10) - Gray 0-4, Jordan Senecal 1-4, Rachael Nicholson 0-4, Alyssa Lamb 2-4 (2B), Shaina Allen 1-3 (2B), Madison Johnson 0-2, Makenzi Meagher 0-1, Morgan Stevenson 0-2, Jesse Graveley 1-3 (HR).
MANHATTAN (15-8) - Adele Didriksen 1-5, D. Didriksen 2-4, Amy Grevious 0-1, Shayla Shea 1-3 (2B), Malia Friese 2-3, Natalie Scott 1-2 (2B), Lizzie Rasnick 1-4, Matilda Dietz 1-2, Casey Elfland 1-4.
Manhattan 12, St. Ignatius 11
St. ignatius 014 051 0 - 11 11 5
Manhattan 230 023 2 - 12 18 2
Meagan Elgas, Claire Nolan (6) and Daela Didriksen. Liev Smith, Tom Brazill (3), Azia Umphrey (6) and n/a. W - Nolan (5-3). L - Umphrey.
ST. IGNATIUS - Brazill 1-4, Smith 2-2, Caitlyn Sorrell 0-3, Umphrey 3-3 (HR), Frankie Smith 1-4, Shyanne Reum 1-4, Courtney Mitchell 2-4, Kayden Burke 0-3, Olivia Garland 1-4 (2B).
MANHATTAN (16-8) - Adele Didriksen 3-5, D. Didriksen 2-5, Amy Grevious 3-5 (3B), Shayla Shea 3-5, Malia Friese 0-5, Natalie Scott 1-4, Lexi Miller 1-1, Lizzie Rasnick 2-4, Matilda Dietz 0-3, Sierra Blancharc 0-0, Casey Elfland 3-4.
Plains-Hot Springs 17, Manhattan 9
Plains 050 500 7 - 17 18 3
Manhattan 301 005 0 - 9 12 0
Claire Nolan, Meagan Elgas (3), Lexi Miller (5) and Daela Didriksen. Celsey VonHeeder and n/a. W - VanHeeder. L - Nolan (5-4).
PLAINS-HOT SPRINGS - Sydney Jackson 0-5, Natalie Deschamps 2-3 (2B), Sage Jackson 2-4 (2B), Kassidy Kinzie 1-3, Dakot Butcher 3-5, Mackenzie Elliott 1-3 (2B), Madison Elliott 3-5 (2B), Izzy Butcher 4-5 (2B), Kenzie Angle 2-5 (2B), Brooklyn Stafford 0-0.
MANHATTAN (16-9) - Adele Didriksen 0-4, D. Didriksen 2-4, Amy Grevious 3-4 (2B, 3B), Shayla Shea 1-4, Malia Friese 1-4, Miller 1-4, Natalie Scott 1-4, Matilda Dietz 2-2, Casey Elfland 2-2, Abby Kabalin 1-2, Sierra Blanchard 0-0, Katie Butts 0-0.