Challis High School junior Austin Ollar pitches against the Firth Cougars at last week’s district tournament. The RiverCats lost in 12 innings, 2-1. They won their other four district tournament games and were crowned district champions.

The Challis-Mackay RiverCats won the district tournament after playing five games in the last week. The title berth advances to the RiverCats to the state tournament.

Challis-Mackay plays at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 16 in Orofino. The game will be carried on, RiverCats coach Ryan Millick said.

Challis defeated Firth twice on Monday, May 6 in the double-elimination tournament. The final score of game 1 was 7-0 and the game 2 score was 6-3.

Monday’s victories came after the RiverCats split their three district games the prior week at Firth, notching two wins and one loss, where they faced Salmon, Firth and West Jefferson.

On April 30 the RiverCats defeated the Salmon Savages 13-0. They had one big inning, scoring eight runs in the third. The RiverCats took advantage of six Savage errors.

RJ Philps pitched for the RiverCats. Nobody got past first base for Salmon as Philps only allowed one hit. He pitched all five innings.

Garrett Millick had two hits and two RBIs. His two hits were both for extra bases, a triple and a double. Josh Papac scored three runs for Challis-Mackay and Philps scored two. Both Papac and Caden Israel also stole two bases.

Next, the Challis-Mackay RiverCats played the Firth Cougars on May 3. The game went 12 innings. It was a tight ballgame. The RiverCats scored first on an RBI groundout by Austin Ollar in the third inning. The Cougars scored one in the fourth, making it 1-1.

Both sides played excellent defense and held each other to just one run. The RiverCats stranded runners on third in multiple innings due to great defense and smart pitching to get out of jams. In the bottom of the 10th, Challis-Mackay had two runners on with two outs. After Garrett Millick drew an intentional walk, Papac came up with a chance to win the game. He smashed a line drive to center field, but the center fielder made a sliding catch to end the inning.

Firth finally scored in the top of the 12th on a couple of errors and a base hit. The RiverCats could not manage to get a run across in the bottom half and lost the marathon 2-1.

Challis-Mackay used three pitchers in the 12-inning battle. Austin Ollar started the game and pitched well. He threw 5.2 innings, allowed five hits and struck out six batters. Millick relieved him and did an excellent job of keeping the Cougars from scoring. He struck out 10 batters in six innings of work and allowed just three hits. Philps pitched after Millick and threw 0.1 innings.

Offensively, the RiverCats couldn’t string together enough hits to get the win. Jarett Ollar had three hits and scored the lone run for Challis-Mackay. Mitchell Cotant also had two hits, including a double. Papac and Austin Ollar each stole one base.

Because the RiverCats lost to Firth, they had to play the winner of the West Jefferson-Salmon contest. The RiverCats ended up facing West Jefferson.

After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first, and getting off to a slow start offensively, Challis-Mackay got it back together and beat the Panthers 14-1.

Philps pitched the game against West Jefferson. He allowed just two hits and one run in four innings. Nolan Moorman came in after him and threw one solid inning.

The RiverCats did much better at bat against the Panthers. Jarett Ollar had another three-hit game and had four RBIs. Oscar Mercado also had two hits and three RBIs and scored three runs for the RiverCats. Austin Ollar recorded a multi-hit game, too.

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