Standings updated with all games, as of July 31.
*Class AA State Tournament is in Helena from Aug. 5-9, pending health restrictions. UPDATE July 31: The local Helena health department has denied the application to host the state tournament. Officials are working to improve their plan in order to get approved. If not approved on Monday, the state tournament will be moved to Billings, pending health restrictions. Another option is to have higher seeds host individual games.
*The 2020 Class AA conference schedule comprises four games with each Class AA opponent in Montana, for a total of 24 games to determine seeds at state tourney; also, home/visitor in all rounds.
*Due to COVID-19 restrictions regarding international travel between Canada and the U.S., both Lethbridge and Medicine Hat will not be competing in the regular season conference schedules. However, if COVID-19 international border restrictions are lifted prior to the Class AA State Tournament, which starts on Aug. 5, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat will battle each other for the No. 8 seed at state. If the border is not open in time, the No. 8 seed at state will be determined at a later date. *Update July 30: Class AA coaches have expressed that they would not like to include a Class A team to fill out the 8-team bracket. Therefor, the No. 1 seed will earn a first-round bye. *Update July 28: Invitations to select Class A teams have been extended to be the 8th team at the State AA tourney if they are eliminated at their district tourneys. The top State AA seeds will have the option of playing the Class A team or the State AA No. 7 or 6 seeds, etc. The State AA bracket will be released on Monday before the state tourney, pending Class A team invite and State AA seeds' decisions.
The No. 1 Bozeman Bucks and No. 2 Helena Senators split a doubleheader on Friday, July 31, in Helena to end the Class AA Montana American Legion Baseball conference season.
While the regular season is over, plans for the state tournament have been put into flux with the local Helena health department waiting until 4:50 p.m. on Friday to inform the Helena Senators that their application to host the state tournament was denied. Officials are working to revise a plan in order to keep Helena as the host; otherwise, the tournament may be moved to Billings. Another option is for higher seeds to host individual games.
Bozeman finished the regular season with a 21-3 record. Helena finished 15-9. Kalispell finished third at 14-10.
Bozeman earned a first-round bye in the state tournament. Helena will play No. 7 Great Falls. Kalispell will play No. 6 Missoula. And the two Billings teams will face off in the No. 4-5 game. Location and game times are still to be determined, pending health restrictions.
BOZEMAN--The Bozeman Bucks swept a four-game series from the Kalispell Lakers to climb to 19-1 on the season and take a firm hold on the No. 1 seed.
Kalispell dropped to 12-10 and third place with two more conference games, both against No. 7 Great Falls, left in the regular season.
The Helena Senators swept Great Falls in a doubleheader to improve to 14-8 and grab on to second place with a week left in the regular season.
After a busy few days to open the week after 4th of July weekend, the Bozeman Bucks remained undefeated in Class AA play, the Kalispell Lakers took 3-of-4 from the Billings Scarlets to take sole possession of second place.
Now, teams are staggered in games behind Bozeman, instead of logjammed. Kalispell remains 1.5 games behind with the Billings Royals (2.5), Helena (3), Missoula (3.5), and the Scarlets (4.5).
The Bozeman Bucks and Kalispell Lakers won both games of doubleheaders against the Billings Scarlets and Great Falls Chargers, respectively, to put themselves atop the tight Class AA standings.
Bozeman improved to 4-0 in Class AA games while Kalispell improved to 6-5 to forge a three-way second-place tie with Missoula and the Billings Royals, just a game and a half out of first place. Helena (5-5) is a half a game away in fifth place while the Billings Scarlets (4-5) are just a game behind that second-place log jam.
The Class AA ranks are showing a lot of parity.
After the busiest two-day stretch of the early season, which saw eight games played, six Class AA teams are within one game of each other in the standings.
The Billings Royals and Helena Senators won three of four games over the Missoula Mavs and Kalispell Lakers, respectively, over the last two days.
Now, with between seven and 10 conference games played (with the exception of Bozeman with two), five teams have either four or five wins and are within a game of .500.
There could be some parity in MALB's Class AA ranks this year.
About one-third of the way through the season, Missoula has climbed out to five wins in the 24-game conference schedule to float atop the standings. Bozeman, with only two games in the books, ranks above four teams with either three or four wins in 6-8 games played.
After submitting plans of operations to each of their local health departments in early May, Montana American Legion Baseball teams began practicing with the opening of Phase 1 in Montana in early May in response to COVID-19, and with most of American still restricted due to the pandemic, MALB teams opened competitive play in Helena.
Montana ALB Class AA Chairman, National ALB Committee, World Series Staff