Bucks v. Helena (copy)

Samuel Schmidt throws the ball to third base for an out against Helena on May 4 at Heroes Park.

After Hunter Williams threw the maximum pitches allowed and Parker McMan gave up two hits and hit a batter, Bozeman turned to its third pitcher of the inning.

Clinging to a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, the Bucks needed two outs. With the bases loaded and the winning run for Kalispell on first base, Samuel Schmidt took the mound.

He walked the first batter he faced and hit the second. The bases remained loaded. The score was tied. The winning run stood on third.

But then came the shift in Schmidt’s outing. He began hitting the strike zone. He began retiring batters. And Bozeman escaped the jam and beat host Kalispell 4-3 in nine innings Saturday.

“Bottom line, I like a conference win against a good ball club on their home field,” Bucks manager Garrett Schultz said despite the contest going into extras. “Had to fight through some adversity. … We did enough to win in a tough setting.”

With Schmidt at the forefront, the Bucks battled to prevent the Lakers from a walk-off win and came through two innings later by scoring the winning run. After nearly a full week off and entering the final three weeks of the regular season, Bozeman (38-12, 11-3) notched another crucial conference victory.

In a season spent ramping up to the state tournament at the end of July, Saturday’s victory was another example of a contest that helped prepare the Bucks. Schultz knows postseason games may not go exactly according to plan. But the team more capable of withstanding the opponent’s rallies will likely advance.

Two innings after Schmidt allowed the tying run, he led off the ninth with a double. A McMan sacrifice bunt moved him to second. Then Kelher Murfitt singled him in, and Bozeman had all the separation it needed.

“I think (Schmidt) fought through adversity,” Schultz said. “He was not sharp when he started the inning on the mound. He got through that inning by challenging hitters. When he threw strikes, he got outs. No one beat him up. We didn’t get too down. … Pretty awesome to stay checked in to (score the winning run).”

Murfitt, Michael Freund, Finn Snyder and Alton Gyselman, the top four hitters in the Bucks’ lineup, each drove in a run.

Williams impressed again, allowing a run in the first but none after that in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 106 pitches, and though he couldn’t face another batter, he put Bozeman in position to win. He scattered four hits while striking out four and walking three.

The Bucks will face Kalispell again Sunday in a doubleheader. All but two of their remaining games will be against conference opponents.

“I think our focus becomes really fine and really acute on our final push,” Schultz said, “and just making sure we’re healthy for the state tournament, making sure we don’t overuse guys and fine tuning some defensive situational stuff.”

Paul Schwedelson can be reached at pschwedelson@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @pschweds.

Paul Schwedelson is a sports writer for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.