HELENA — Helena Capital High senior pitcher Nicole Ames never stopped believing in her offense.
Even when she dug herself into a giant hole.
That belief turned into reality when she watched the Bruins rally to come back and defeat Helena 17-10 on Tuesday evening at Northwest Park.
It was a win that Ames desperately wanted before graduating in a few weeks.
“It feels really good,” Ames said. “I would have hated to leave and not win crosstown here (at home),”
The Bruins arrived at their home park with plenty of confidence.
After all, they did win the first crosstown meeting earlier this month.
But Helena didn’t back down.
It took just four batters before Vanessa Walsh launched a three-run home run over the left field foul pole.
The Bengals added a run in the second inning, but Capital wouldn’t lay down.
The Bruins scrapped together five runs to take the lead, followed by a towering grand slam by Sara Bury.
Capital second baseman Jenna Priddy added a two-run home run to center field just for insurance as the once slim lead turned into a seven-run statement.
“You have to tip your hat to Capital,” Helena coach Ryan Shulte said. “They came out and hit the ball. We just gave up a couple of mistakes.”
The Bengals tried to put their mistakes behind them, but it seemed like at every attempt the Bruins answered.
A two-run double by Walsh was erased by Capital scoring two in the fifth inning, and Kali Anderson’s two RBIs were responded to by three straight RBI hits in the middle of the Bruins order.
“There were a lot of mood swings in that game. That is something we struggled with a bit at times,” Capital coach Mike Miller said. “I thought that grand slam Sara hit was going to take the wind out of (Helena’s) sails. You never know how this game is going to go.”
Capital could finally relax as it ended the game when Ames stuck out Veronica Hansen.
Ames finished the game giving up seven earned runs, but struck out five batters. More importantly, she ended her crosstown career with a series sweep of Helena and gained some momentum in next week’s district tournament.
“We have had our struggles, but we are starting to peak,” Ames said. “This is really good for us.”
But before that, the teams will go their separate ways as Helena travels to Missoula for a doubleheader against Hellgate on Thursday, while the Bruins stay home to host Billings Senior and Skyview on Saturday.
“We have lost some close games, but we have overcome that and I’m pretty excited about the direction we are headed,” Miller said.