Led by five scoreless innings on the mound from Brody Ayers, the Gallatin Valley Outlaws opened the Montana-Alberta Class A State Tournament with a victory Thursday in Havre.
Ayers tossed a 2-hitter and struck out five, while Josh Majors and Brandon Beedie each allowed just one hit in relief, to lead the Outlaws to an 8-2 first round win against Glendive.
“Basically we won with our pitching and our defense,” Gallatin Valley manager Duwayne Scott said. “And then our offense was able to put a couple at-bats together.”
The Outlaws took a 2-0 lead in the second and then stretched it to 6-0 in the fourth.
“We took advantage of some of their walks in the one inning and we were able to score four,” said Scott.
Gallatin Valley added two more runs in the seventh before the Blue Devils finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the frame.
Bo Hays, Josh Wisecarver and Ayers each had two hits for the Outlaws, while Patrick Dietz drove in three runs.
“Patrick swung the ball really well,” said Scott. “I think he had two or three RBIs.”
The Outlaws (51-21) play either Mission Valley or the Great Falls Chargers in the second round at 4 p.m. Friday.
“I think if we can just play defense and our pitchers continue to pitch the way they have all year, I think we got a chance,” said Scott. “We haven’t seen Great Falls or Mission Valley yet this year, so they’re going in blind just like us.”
Laurel 6, Belgrade 4
After taking a 4-0 lead into the fifth inning Thursday, things began to unravel for Belgrade in a first round game at the state tournament.
Laurel scored a pair of runs in the fifth to cut the deficit in half and then added four more in the sixth to rally for a 6-4 victory.
“We didn’t throw strikes. When we went to the bullpen we didn’t throw strikes,” Belgrade manager Johnny Graham said. “So it’s hard to maintain a lead let alone win a ball game without filling up the strike zone.”
Cooper VanLuchene started on the mound and limited the Dodgers to five hits through five innings of work. But Mason Jacobsen allowed two runs and failed to register an out in the sixth, and the Payton Burman allowed two more runs before Gavin Waters took over on the mound.
The Bandits had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh after Aidan Kulbeck reached on an error and Lane Neill singled. But after Keaton Carter failed to advance the runners on a sacrifice bunt, Kash Fike grounded into a game-ending double play.
Belgrade scored a run in the second and third to take a 2-0 lead, and then added two more in the third after Jacobsen and Kulbeck, who had reached base on singles, scored on the same error.
Neill and Jacksha each finished with two hits, and Neill also had a double.
Belgrade (46-18), which had its 14-game winning streak snapped, plays a loser-out game against Glacier or Havre at 1 p.m. Friday. The Bandits need to win four consecutive games to reach Monday's championship game.
“Our biggest win streak of the season was 14 games. This doesn’t require that, so we’ve done that before. We’re fully capable of doing it,” said Graham. “So we ask the guys to believe in not just themselves, but one another and we push forward.”
Gallatin Valley 8, Glendive 2
Gallatin Valley 020 040 2 - 8 11 1
Glendive 000 000 2 - 2 4 3
Brody Ayers, Josh Majors (6), Brandon Beedie (7) and n/a. Vinny Torres, Kobe Kutzer (7) and n/a.
GALLATIN VALLEY (51-21) - Brady Jones 1-4, Trevor Doud 1-4, Isaac Richardson 1-3, Cyrus Richardson 1-3, Ayers 2-3, Bo Hays 2-3, Josh Wisecarver 2-4, Patrick Dietz 1-3, Logan Vasarella 0-3, Majors 0-1.
GLENDIVE - Austin Berry 0-3, Casey Rounsville 1-4, Matt Durner 0-4, Rhett Hoffer 0-3, Riley Basta 2-2, Parker Buckley 0-3, Brodie Eckert 0-2, Axton Franks 1-2, Teagon Wahl 0-1, Derek Reynolds 0-0.
Laurel 6, Belgrade 4
Laurel 000 024 0 - 6 8 2
Belgrade 011 200 0 - 4 8 2
Ian Bauer and Evan Caton. Cooper VanLuchene, Mason Jacobsen (6), Payton Burman (6), Gavin Wates (7) and Conner Reid.
LAUREL (36-22) - Jaxon Wittmayer 1-3, Caton 0-2, Richie Cortese 1-3 (3B), Bauer 1-4, Braeden Foos 0-3, Ricky Temporal 1-3, Reece Dolechek 1-4, JD Ketterling 1-4, Maverick Hoppman 2-4 (2B).
BELGRADE (46-18) - Lane Neill 2-4, Keaton Carter 1-4 (2B), Kash Fike 1-4, Coby Richards 0-1, Reid 0-3, Brody Jacksha 2-2 (3B), VanLuchene 0-1, Burman 0-3, Jacobsen 1-1, Waters 0-1, Aidan Kulbeck 1-3.