THREE FORKS — With a few of days off for the holiday weekend, coaches from Belgrade and Gallatin Valley noted players were sluggish in their return Monday at Imerys Field.
The teams combined for 11 errors in a Southern A doubleheader, including eight in Game 2. Despite accounting for eight of those errors, Belgrade managed to sweep the twinbill 2-0 and 15-3.
“Honestly, it was exactly what I thought it was going to be for having a couple of days off,” longtime Gallatin Valley manager Duwayne Scott said. “I thought the first game we competed and it was a good pitching battle between the two guys, and that’s what it should have been with those two arms on the mound,” said Scott. “The second game, I thought we competed in the first inning against Coby (Richards), and then I thought we just kind of had OK at-bats after that.”
Belgrade’s Cooper VanLuchene and Gallatin Valley’s Patrick Dietz each shined on the mound in Game 1. VanLuchene tossed a 3-hitter and struck out six, while Dietz scattered five hits and struck out 10.
“This isn’t to discredit their arm, but we were lethargic in game one,” Bandits manager Johnny Graham said. “Not very sharp offensively, didn’t execute very well, and mental miscues in terms of base running and things.”
Belgrade scored an unearned run in the first and then added another in the third, but was unable to produce another score despite getting runners in scoring position a couple of times.
“We had a chance to extend that lead a few times and we didn’t,” said Graham. “And we were not good in our two-strike approach in game one. It was brutal, especially with guys in scoring position. We got to compete better with that.”
The Outlaws never found a way to solve VanLuchene, but Scott felt his team was on the verge of breaking loose throughout the contest.
“We were just one or two hits away from scoring a couple runs and they had only one earned run,” he said. “If we make the play in the first inning it might even be different later in the game.”
Belgrade (24-9, 17-1 Southern A) scored in every inning of Game 2 en route to a five-inning victory. The Bandits finished with 11 hits, including five doubles.
“I thought we put together some pretty nice at-bats in game two, and then that last inning or so we started squaring balls up and pulled away,” said Graham. “And Coby threw really well.”
Richards scattered five hits and struck out 10 en route to earning the victory on the mound. He was also 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.
Graham learned Monday morning that catcher/outfielder Kash Fike would be unable to play due to an injury that he described as day-to-day. That forced Graham to make some changes to the lineup which included playing Isaiah Brandhorst — recently back from his own injury — in both games. He started at centerfield and finished 2 for 5.
“We set a lineup up because it fits with how we want to do things, and when we move guys around it’s not so much we got to put a hot bat here,” said Graham. “It’s what bats lineup together nicely to play the way we like to play, so that threw it off a little bit.”
Gallatin Valley (15-17, 6-4 Southern A) was led by Bo Hays, who finished 2 for 3 with an RBI in Game 2.
Prior to the weekend, Belgrade swept Livingston in a conference doubleheader at Medina Field July 1. The Bandits won the opener 13-3 and the nightcap 15-0 in five innings.
Fike scattered six hits and struck out four for the Bandits on the mound in Game 1, and was 2 for 2 at the plate with a double, triple and four RBIs. In Game 2, Mason Jacobsen threw a 1-hitter, while Lane Neill led the offense by going 2 for 4 with a double and a pair of RBIs.
“We played well,” said Graham. “I thought all around we were pretty clean. We played fast — good doubleheader.”
Belgrade travels to Lewistown for a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday, and then hosts the Kalispell Lakers Saturday.
The Outlaws swept the Dillon Cubs at home in league games July 2, 10-0 and 14-13. Gallatin Valley tallied 16 hits in the opener, led by three each from Brady Jones and Josh Wisecarver, and Dietz tossed a 2-hitter and struck out nine in a complete game win.
In Game 2, Isaac Richardson belted a double and a triple en route to finishing 3 for 4 with four RBIs. Trevor Doud also went 3 for 4 with a double.
Gallatin Valley hosts the Bozeman Bucks A in a conference twinbill Wednesday, and then hosts the Helena Reps and Anaconda A's in league doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
With about a month remaining in the season, Scott noted his young team is continuing to grow.
“I think the main thing is some of these guys are still learning the game of baseball at this level. Some of our young guys just need to quit expecting so much out of themselves and understand that this game’s not easy,” he said. “They just have to try and get better every day at practice. These next couple weeks will tell us a lot as far as where some of these guys are at and what kind of character we have. And hopefully we can get some wins along the way.”
Belgrade 13, Livingston 3
Livingston 100 20 - 3 6 2
Belgrade 500 8x - 13 10 0
Simon Coleman, Casey Miller (4) and David Osen. Kash Fike and Seth Green.
LIVINGSTON - Braden Duncan 1-3, Osen 1-3, River Smith 2-3 (2B, 3B), Rob Wolf 1-2, Scott Tatum 1-2, Casey Miller 0-2, Max Stern 0-1, Darlen Gilman 0-2, Zack Beal 0-1, Coleman 0-1.
BELGRADE (21-9) - Lane Neill 0-1, Aidan Kulbeck 1-2, Fike 2-3 (2B, 3B), Coby Richards 1-3, Green 1-3, Mason Jacobsen 3-3, Cooper VanLuchene 1-1, Keaton Carter 0-2, Isaiah Brandhorst 1-3.
Belgrade 15, Livingston 0
Livingston 000 00 - 0 1 6
Belgrade 123 9x - 15 8 0
River Smith, Rob Wolf (4) and David Osen. Mason Jacobsen and Seth Green.
LIVINGSTON - Braden Duncan 0-2, Osen 0-2, Darien Gilman 0-2, Wolf 1-2, Smith 0-2, Zack Beal 0-2, Simon Coleman 0-1, Scott Tatum 0-1, Brooks Smith 0-1.
BELGRADE (22-9) - Lane Neill 2-4 (2B), Aidan Kulbeck 0-4, Kash Fike 0-2, Coby Richards 1-3, Green 1-2 (2B), Mason Jacobsen 1-2, Wyatt Russell 1-1, Wyatt Lambeth 1-2, Keaton Carter 1-2.
Gallatin Valley 10, Dillon 0
Dillon 000 00 - 0 2 1
Gallatin Valley 311 32 - 10 16 1
Connor Curnow, Landon Peterson (4) and n/a. Patrick Dietz and n/a.
DILLON - Cole Johnston 0-2, Kale Konen 0-2, Pete Gibson 0-1, Jace Fitzgerald 0-2, Curnow 1-2 (2B), Johnny Reiser 0-2, Chase Pulliam 0-2, Conner Vezina 1-2, Tyler Lagunas 0-2.
GALLATIN VALLEY (14-15) - Brady Jones 3-4, Trevor Doud 2-4 (2B), Isaac Richardson 1-4, Bo Hays 1-1, Josh Wisecarver 3-3, Brody Ayers 2-4, Cyrus Richardson 0-3, Brandon Beedie 2-3 (2B), Mayson Shively 2-3.
Gallatin Valley 14, Dillon 13
Dillon 000 034 6 - 13 12 4
Gallatin Valley 120 008 3 - 14 14 1
Cole Pulliam, Pete Gibson (6), Johnny Reiser (6) and n/a. Bo Hays, Brandon Beedie (5), Isaac Richardson (6), Austin Devers (7), Brady Jones (7) and n/a.
DILLON - Gibson 2-4 (2 2B), Cole Johnson 2-3, Jace Fitzgerald 2-3, Connor Curnow 2-3, Kale Konen 1-5, Johnny Reiser 1-4 (3B), Conner Vezina 0-2, Colin Herman 1-5, Pulliam 1-2, Tyler Lagunas 0-0.
GALLATIN VALLEY (15-15) - Jones 0-3, Trevor Doud 3-4 (2B), I. Richardson 3-4 (2B, 3B), Hays 2-3, Josh Wisecarver 1-3, Devers 1-3, Patrick Dietz 0-1, Cyrus Richardson 2-4, Gunnar Johnson 1-2, Brody Ayers 1-2, Mayson Shively 0-2.
Belgrade 2, Gallatin Valley 0
Belgrade 101 000 0 - 2 5 2
Gallatin Valley 000 000 0 - 0 3 1
Cooper VanLuchene and Seth Green. Patrick Dietz, Caleb Kamerman (7) and Brandon Beedie.
BELGRADE (23-9) - Keaton Carter 0-2, Lane Neill 1-3, Aidan Kulbeck 0-2, Mason Jacobsen 0-3, Coby Richards 2-3 (2B), Green 0-1, Wyatt Lambeth 0-2, Wyatt Russell 1-3, Isaiah Brandhorst 1-2 (2B).
GALLATIN VALLEY (15-16) - Brady Jones 1-3, Trevor Doud 1-4, Isaac Richardson 0-2, Bo Hays 0-2, Josh Wisecarver 0-2, Gunnar Johnson 0-1, C. Richardson 0-3, Beedie 0-2, Mayson Shively 0-3.
Belgrade 15, Gallatin Valley 3
Belgrade 323 25 - 15 11 6
Gallatin Valley 201 00 - 3 5 2
Coby Richards and Seth Green. Mayson Shively, Brandon Beedie (5) and Cyrus Richardson, Austin Devers (4).
BELGRADE (24-9) - Lane Neill 0-3, Aidan Kulbeck 3-4 (2B), Mason Jacobsen 0-2, Richards 4-4 (2B), Green 1-2 (2B), Cooper VanLuchene 0-4, Keaton Carter 0-3, Alex Casas 2-2 (2B), Isaiah Brandhorst 1-2 (2B), Wyatt Russell 0-0.
GALLATIN VALLEY (15-17) - Brady Jones 0-3, Trevor Doud 1-3, Isaac Richardson 0-3, Bo Hays 2-3, Brody Ayers 0-2, C. Richardson 0-1, Devers 0-1, Patrick Dietz 1-2, Brandon Beedie 1-2, Gunnar Johnson 0-2.