For the first time since 2005, Gallatin Valley will be playing in the championship game at the Montana-Alberta Class A State Tournament.
The Outlaws remained unbeaten in the five-day event in Havre with a 12-2 rout of Great Falls Sunday. But it was Saturday’s stunning seventh inning rally against Glacier that punched the team’s ticket to the title game.
“That’s what they worked all year for is to play tomorrow,” Gallatin Valley manager Duwayne Scott said. “Hopefully we can play defense and throw strikes, and come up with some timely hits.”
Glacier (51-15) bounced back to defeat Belgrade 2-1 Sunday to set up a rematch in the championship game. The Twins need to beat Gallatin Valley twice Monday to claim the title.
“We know that they have to beat us twice,” said Scott. “But obviously we’re going to go after Game 1 and hopefully get that first game.”
In their first meeting Gallatin Valley trailed by two entering the bottom of the seventh, but rallied for a 6-5 victory in the undefeated semifinal.
Twins pitcher Hayden Bryan hit two batters and walked another in the seventh as the Outlaws loaded the bases with no outs. Cyrus Richardson drove in a run on a single to left, and then Brody Ayers singled to left to tie the game.
Gallatin Valley scored the game winning run on a sacrifice fly by Bo Hays that drove in Isaac Richardson.
Scott credited his team for continuing to fight after Glacier had stretched its lead to 5-3 with a run in the top of the seventh.
“The way we talked about it the whole time yesterday was just to grind out at-bats and hopefully we’d come up with a couple big hits,” he said. “And we were able to take advantage of their pitching staff being a little wild. Cyrus and Brody had two big hits to tie it up and then obviously Bo’s sac fly was the game winner.”
Although the Outlaws had already clinched a berth into the championship game, they still had to play Great Falls Sunday. The Chargers had bounced back from a first round loss to win a pair of elimination games.
But Logan Vasarella scattered eight hits and struck out three to lead Gallatin Valley to victory.
“Logan did really good. He was able to locate all his pitches and we were able to make plays behind him,” said Scott. “Offensively we came up with some big hits with runners in scoring position.”
The Outlaws (54-21) tallied 11 hits in the contest with Cyrus and Isaac Richardson each finishing with three. All three of Cyrus’ hits were doubles, while Isaac had one, and the brothers combined for three RBIs.
“Cyrus had some huge hits, Bo Hays had some big hits,” said Scott. “It was pretty much all up and down the lineup.”
With the offense clicking on all cylinders, Scott feels good heading into the championship game if the team can play sound defensively.
“We’re going in good," he said. "Obviously pitching-wise we still have Patrick (Dietz) and Mayson (Shively) that we haven’t even used yet. So hopefully we come out and score some runs and make plays.
"Defensively we probably got to clean a little bit up for tomorrow, but other than that I think we got a good chance.”
Gallatin Valley 12, Great Falls 2
Great Falls 110 000 - 2 8 2
Gallatin Valley 303 402 - 12 11 2
L Sullivan, J Mazaira (4), M Davis (4) and I Anderson. Logan Vassarella and Cyrus Richardson.
GREAT FALLS - Seamus Sullivan 1-4, Josh Stimac 0-2, Davis 1-3, Lane Seim 0-3, Scotty Klinker 1-3, Ian Anderson 0-3, Nate Redenbaugh 1-2, AJ Sloan 2-3 (3B), Austin Armstrong 2-3.
GALLATIN VALLEY (54-21) - Brady Jones 0-3, Isaac Richardson 3-4 (2B), C. Richardson 3-5 (3 3B), Brody Ayers 0-2, Bo Hays 2-3 (2B), Josh Wisecarver 1-2 (2B), Patrick Dietz 0-3, Reid Woodward 1-3, Trevor Doud 1-1.