2022 Montana-Alberta Class AA American Legion Baseball Postseason Awards
Trysten Mooney, Helena
Coach of the Year
David Swecker, Blgs Royals; Tony Forster, Great Falls; Jon Burnett, Helena
Blgs Royals 4, Helena Senators 3
Lance Schaaf, Blgs Royals
Tournament Batting Champion
Austin Schaaf, Blgs Royals
C–Trysten Mooney, Helena
1B–Davis Mosier, Blgs Royals
2B–Nate Fowler, Great Falls
3B–Nate McDonald, Blgs Scarlets
SS–Tyler Tenney, Helena
Utility IF–Owen Doucette, Blgs Royals; River Smith, Bozeman
OF–Adam Jones, Missoula; Austin Schaaf, Blgs Royals; Hunter Bratcher, Helena; Lane Seim, Great Falls
P–Lance Schaaf, Blgs Royals; Drew McDowell, Blgs Scarlets; Adam Jones, Missoula; Jaxon Filipenko, Lethbridge
C–Tyler Marr, Great Falls
2B–Skye Palmer, Missoula
3B–Mike Hulbert, Helena
SS–Kyler Northrup, Blgs Scarlets
Utility IF–Hunter Wallis, Helena
OF–Manu Melo, Helena; Henry Black, Missoula; Nick Beam, Missoula
P–Jaiden Turner, Blgs Royals; Hunter Bratcher, Helena; Kostya Hoffman, Kalispell; Scotty Klinker, Great Falls; Michael Armstrong, Bozeman
Billings Royals utility man Owen Doucette plays second base on Friday night against the Helena Senators in the undefeated semifinal at Billing's Dehler Park.
GILLETTE, Wyo.--The two-time defending ALB World Series Champions walked off on the Billings Royals Friday night in the undefeated semifinal, 4-3.
The Royals will now have to win three straight games to reach the World Series.
Owen Doucette hit two doubles. His first was the game's only hit for a long while. His second was a shot almost heard nearly all around the northwest. He launched a two-strike, two-out pitch off the right field wall and plated two runs to tie the game, 3-3. ... But he was eventually stranded at second base.
Lance Schaaf pitched a dandy, but so did Idaho Falls' Nate Rose.
Checkout game stats and reports here.
GILLETTE, Wyo.--Billings pitcher Regan Walker dealt his stuff, while Austin Schaad, Owen Doucette, and Jessen West proved pests on offense while scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth, in the 5-3 victory of Medford, Ore.
West was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Austin Schaff was 2-for-4 with three runs scored, and Doucette was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.Tied 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Jessen West crushed a two-run double to centerfield that scored Austin Schaaf and Davis Mosier.
The Royals head to the undefeated semifinal with a berth to the regional championship game on the line. They play the two-time defending World Series championship: The Idaho Falls Bandits, at 7 p.m. They've played them twice this year, in a doubleheader on June 7 in Billings. They lost both, 4-0 and 7-4. Royals coach David Swecker said that the Royals would probably see a young sophomore who throws mid-80s, but sometimes has a hard time with this control. "When we saw him in Billings this summer, he had pretty good stuff," he said. Idaho Falls' Jones shut them out while Whitney got through five innings with two runs, five hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.
Trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning, Jaiden Turner led off with a double. Carter Venable entered the game as a pinch hitter and executed a bunt that turned into an error, scoring pinch runner Bubba Bergan.
Walker spread seven hits and three walks over six innings, while striking out just two. Hunter Eliason came in for an inning after the Royals came back from trailing 3-2 the inning before and struck out a batter while retiring the other two--all on seven pitches.
GILLETTE, Wyo.--Each team had just three hits, but that was enough for the Billings Royals to plate five runs in a 5-1 victory over the Northwest Region 7 Tournament host Gillette, Wyo., in Wednesday's opening round.
The Royals scored all of their runs in the second inning. First, on a bases-loaded walk. Then on a huge debacle by Gillette's third and first baseman on a two-error play that plated four runs in a seemingly inside-the-park home run.
The Royals advance to play Medford, Ore., Thursday at 7 p.m.
BILLINGS--Coverage to come Monday after driving home to Kalispell.
Thank you all!
Helena pitcher Hunter Bratcher hits an RBI single on Saturday at Dehler Park in Billings. Bratcher went 3-for-3 and pitched a complete game.
Senators, Royals rematch in state championship game
BILLINGS--As expected, it'll be the No. 1 Billings Royals versus the No. 2 Helena Senators for the Class AA State Championship on Sunday.
The title game starts at 11 a.m. at Dehler Park. It will be livestreamed by Missoula Prep Sports Network and live scored by GameChanger right here on this webpage.
The Senators eliminated the Billings Scarlets, 8-2, and the Royals eliminated the Kalispell Lakers, 14-5, on Saturday.
No. 1 Billings Royals 14, No. 6 Kalispell Lakers 5
Davis Mosier went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored, and a stolen; plus, he started on the mound and pitched five innings, spreading out five hits and two walks while striking out three to earn the victory.
Ahead just 4-3 in the bottom of the third inning, the Royals erupted for eight runs and never looked back.
Owen Doucette went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. He also pitched the seventh inning, striking out two.
No. 2 Helena 8, No. 3 Billings Scarlets 2
Helena pitcher Hunter Bratcher spread seven hits and no walks over a complete-game victory, and Hunter Wallis and Walker Bennett collected two RBIs apiece, in the victory.
Billings scored a run in the top of the first inning, but Helena responded with three in the bottom of the first then scored in five of the six innings they batted in.
Bratcher struck out three, and went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI on offense.
The Senators outhit the Scarlets, 11-7, and stole seven bases.
Mike Hurlbert went 2-for-3 with a walk, three stolen bases, two runs scored and an RBI in the win. Wallis added two hits and two stolen bases to go with his two RBIs.
Billings' Kyler Northrup and Keaton Mickelson each had two hits in the season-ending loss.
The Billings Royals first baseman Davis Mosier celebrates his go-ahead, two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday night at Dehler Park in Billings.
Scarlets, Lakers win loser-out games
BILLINGS--The undefeated semifinal lived up to its billing... And, the host teams are still alive.
The No. 1 Billings Royals beat No. 2 Helena, 4-3, on Friday night after an hour-long lightning delay. With the victory, the Royals clinched a berth into the state championship game on Sunday. They will play No. 6 Kalispell Saturday at noon. A victory there means whoever survives the loser-out semifinal between Helena and the Billings Scarlets will have to beat the Royals twice on Sunday to claim the chipper.
The No. 3 Billings Scarlets beat No. 5 Great Falls, 4-1, in loser-out action to start Friday's slate of three games at Dehler Park. No. 6 Kalispell followed with a victory over No. 8 Bozeman, 3-0.
No. 1 Billings Royals 4, No. 2 Helena Senators 3
The Billings Royals first baseman Davis Mosier hit a two-out, 2-1 pitch into a go-ahead two-run double into center field, and pitcher Jaiden Turner spread five hits and three walks over six innings, while striking out six, to help lead the Royals to victory.
The win clinches a berth into Sunday's championship game.
Austin Schaaf and Jessen West each went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the victory. Nos. 8 and 9 hitters Bryce LaForest and Lance Schaaf each had RBI singles in the second inning to give the Royals a 2-0 lead.
But the Senators responded quickly in the third inning with three runs to take a 3-2 lead. Tyler Tenney, Mike Hurlbert, and Walker Bennett picked up the RBIs in that inning.
No. 3 Billings Scarlets 4, No. 5 Great Falls 1
Billings pitcher Spencer Berger spread four hits and five walks over six innings, and third baseman Nate McDonald and right fielder Hunter Doyle each went 2-for-3 with two runs scored to help lead the Scarlets.
Trailing 1-0 in the second inning, McDonald launched a two-out 1-0 pitch into a two-run home run over the left field fence to put the Scarlets into a 2-1 lead. They added a run apiece in the fifth and sixth innings off of gifts from the Great Falls defense: one a two-out fly ball behind second base that got lost in the sun with a runner on second base that scored when it hit the grass, and the other an amazing foul ball catch by the right fielder stretching into the stands, which resulted in a sacrifice fly because there was a runner on third that tagged up and scored.
The Chargers left 10 runners on base, while the Scarlets stranded just five.
No. 6 Kalispell 3, No. 8 Bozeman 0
Kalispell pitcher Max Holden spread five hits and two walks over seven innings, while striking out five, en route to a complete-game shutout to help lead the Lakers in eliminating Bozeman.
The Lakers scored one run in the second inning and two more in the third to take control of the game. The Lakers outhit the Bucks, 8-5, with all but one starter getting one hit apiece.
Ostyn Brennan, Oscar Kallis, and Grady Drish collect the RBI hits in the victory.
Helena pitcher Mike Hurlbert delivers a pitch to Kalispell batter Haiden Bunyea Thursday night, July 28, at Dehler Park in Billings. Hurlbert had a no hitter going through four innings.
No. 8 Bozeman eliminates No. 4 Missoula, Scarlets stay alive
BILLINGS–A nail biter, an upset, a mercy-ruled game, and a host team cruising to victory… Day 2 at the Montana-Alberta Class AA American Legion Baseball State Tournament had a gamut of games Thursday at Dehler Park in Billings.
The No. 1 Billings Royals outlasted No. 5 Great Falls, 12-11, in a nail biter and No. 2 Helena mercy-ruled No. 6 Kalispell, 11-0, to advance to the undefeated semifinal game Friday night at 7 p.m.
In loser-out action, No. 8 Bozeman upset No. 4 Missoula, 8-5, and the No. 3 Billings Scarlets cruised to a 7-2 victory over No. 7 Lethbridge. The Scarlets will face Great Falls at 1 p.m. Friday. Bozeman will face Kalispell at at 4 p.m.
No. 2 Helena 11, No. 6 Kalispell 0 (5 innings)
Helena pitcher Mike Hulbert pitched no-hit ball for 4 ⅓ innings before hitting a pitch count that will allow him back on championship Sunday, and Hunter Wallis went 2-for-3 with a two-run double.
Hurlbert struck out five and walked none. He hit one batter and one other Kalispell hitter reached on an error, both in the first inning, or he would have had a perfect game going.
Every Senator starter except one had at least one hit. And, all but two starters had RBIs and a run scored. Hunter Bratcher also had two hits in the win.
No. 1 Blgs. Royals 12, No. 5 Great Falls 11
Trailing 8-1 in the fourth inning, Great Falls scored four runs to get back into the game, then scored two runs apiece in each of the last three innings to keep getting within one run, but the Royals kept their distance by scoring two runs in each of the last two innings to hold on to the victory.
The Chargers had the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh inning after three straight hit by pitches, scored twice on a big hit by Nate Fowler. But, then a popped-up sacrifice bunt turned into a double play as the Royals were able to get the Chargers' lead runner out at second. And the game ended on the next batter, who popped out to the catcher.
Ahead just 10-9 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Davis Chakos hit a two-run double, and it proved to be the game-winner.
Austin Schaaf went 3-for-4 with a double, 2 RBIs, a stolen base, and two runs scored. Jessen West had two hits and three RBIs. Davis Mosier had two hits and two RBIs. And, Kruz Slevira added two hits as Billings out-hit the Chargers, 12-11.
The Chargers' Lane Seim went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs in the loss. Fowler and Wesley Gilcher each had two hits and two RBIs. Gilcher scored twice, as well.
No. 3 Blgs. Scarlets 7, No. 7 Lethbridge 2
Billings pitcher Drew McDowell spread five hits and two walks over seven innings, while striking out six, and leadoff hitter Nathan McDonald collected four RBIs to help lead the Scarlets in eliminating Lethbridge.
Lethbridge was still shaking off a little rust, having not been in the state tournament since before covid, and the Scarlets held a 3-0 lead in the second inning without even registering a hit.
No. 8 Bozeman 8, No. 4 Missoula 5
Bozeman's Nos. 4 and 5 hitters Max Matteucci and Corbin Holzer each had two hits and two RBIs to help lead the Bucks in erasing a 3-1 deficit after the second inning with six runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings.
Bozeman pitcher River Smith allowed six hits and three walks over six innings, while striking out four, and gave way to Chris Wrench in the seventh in earning the victory on the mound.
Trailing 8-3 entering their final at bats, Missoula scored twice and stranded the bases loaded with one out as Wrench struck out the final two batters.
Great Falls pitcher Scotty Klinker delivers a pitch in the seventh inning of Wednesday's opening-round victory over Missoula, 1-0, at Dehler Park in Billings. Klinker pitched a three-hit, complete-game shutout, striking out seven, to earn the victory.
BILLINGS--The Class AA State Tournament started on Wednesday at Dehler Park with a pitchers' duel in games 1 and 3, and day one ended with a 15-run nail biter in the nightcap.
The No. 1 Billings Royals beat Bozeman, 1-0. No. 5 Great Falls beat Missoula, 1-0. The Royals and Chargers face off Thursday at 4 p.m. for a berth into the undefeated semifinal.
No. 2 Helena survived a slow start to 10-run No. 7 Lethbridge, 17-7. And, in the night cap, the No. 6 Kalispell Lakers pulled off an upset of No. 3 and tourney-host Billings Scarlets, 9-6. Helena will face the Lakers Thursday in the other winners' bracket game at 7 p.m.
Losers' bracket games are at 10 a.m. (Bozeman vs. Missoula) and 1 p.m. (Scarlets vs. Lethbridge).
No. 6 Kalispell 9, No. 3 Blgs Scarlets 6
In a game that featured three lead changes and two ties from the third to the sixth innings, the No. 6 Kalispell Lakers pulled off the upset of the tournament host Billings Scarlets by scoring five unanswered runs in the final two innings.
And it was a guy coming off the bench, Kalispell right fielder Oscar Kallis, who scored the go-ahead run in the sixth, then delivered a two-run double in the seventh for a couple of insurance runs. And those insurance runs proved valuable because the Scarlets stranded the bases loaded to end the game when Kalispell pitcher Max Holden came in in relief and used to just pitches to induce a fly ball to end the game.
Kalispell leadoff hitter, junior-to-be second baseman Ostyn Brennan, and senior-to-be left fielder James Moody each had two hits and an RBI in the victory. Catcher Grady Drish matched Kallis with two RBIs and a run scored.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning, Gage Brink hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Kallis with the go-ahead run. Kostya Hoffman tied the game before Brink by working a bases-loaded RBI walk. Prior to that, Ostyn Brennan hit a 1-1 pitch into a line drive RBI single into right field to cut the Lakers’ deficit to one, 6-5.
The Scarlets actually out-hit the Lakers, 9-8. But three Scarlets pitchers combined to walk seven batters and hit two more, while three Kalispell pitchers combined to walk only two.
With no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Jaden Sanchez hit a 1-2 pitch into a line drive into right field for a two-run single, giving the Scarlets their first lead, 5-4. Kalispell starting pitcher Kostya Hoffman gave up two free passes to start the inning and then a great sacrifice bunt by Kyler Northrup resulted in a throwing error that started the Scarlets’ big inning. After Sanchez stole second base, Spencer Berger added to the lead with an RBI single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch.
Sanchez and Kyler Northrup each had multiple hits and multiple RBIs in the loss.
No. 1 Blgs Royals 1, No. 8 Bozeman 0
Billings pitcher Lance Schaaf hurled a two-hit, complete-game shutout, and Owen Douchette hit an RBI single in the first inning, to help lead the Royals to the opening-round victory.
Schaaf struck out 10 and walked none.
The Royals out-hit the Bucks, 5-2, in a game that lasted just 1 hour, 14 minutes. There were no extra-base hits.
Bozeman pitcher Michael Armstrong pitched the whole game for the Bucks, allowing five hits and one walk, while striking out two.
No. 5 Great Falls 1, No. 4 Missoula 0
Great Falls pitcher Scotty Klinker pitched a three-hit, complete-game shutout, and Kellan Lawhon delivered a two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh inning, to help lead the Chargers to the opening-round victory.
Klincher, a 6-foot junior, struck out seven and allowed three walks.
Missoula starting pitcher Adam Jones pitched no-hit ball for six innings, striking out nine and walking four, before hitting his pitch-count limit. Rookie Chris Compton relieved Jones to start the seventh inning, but walked the leadoff batter Lane Seim. Missoula ace Peyton Stevens promptly relieved Compton. The Chargers' Wesley Gilcher executed a sacrifice bunt to put Seim into scoring position. Then after a flyout to right field, Lawhon hit an 0-1 pitch into a line drive into centerfield to score Seim.
It was Great Falls's only hit of the game.
No. 2 Helena 17, No. 7 Lethbridge 7 (5 innings)
Helena hitters Trysten Mooney, Hunter Wallis, and Walker Bennett each had two hits to help lead the Senators over Lethbridge.
The Senators had to rally from 1-0 and 7-5 deficits after the second and third innings. They put up 10 runs in the third inning and never looked back.
Lethbridge took a two-run lead in the third after Zach Lyons launched a grand slam into the left field concourse.
Helena pitcher Tyler Tenney started on the mound, but was not his usual self, giving up six hits, four walks and seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. He was relieved after 79 pitches, so he can return on championship Sunday, if the Senators advance.
Every Helena starter scored a run. Trysten Mooney had three RBIs, while Wallis and Tycen Mooney each had two RBIs. Wallis and Bennett each scored three runs. The Mooney brothers each had a double.
MISSOULA--The seeds are set.
The Missoula Mavs beat the Lethbridge Elks, 7-2, Saturday to cap Montana-Alberta's final Class AA conference game.
With the victory, Missoula clinched the No. 4 seed, and therefore, will be the home team against No. 5 Great Falls in the opening round of the MAALB Class AA State Tournament in Billings at 10 a.m.
The victory, Missoula's 36th of the season, actually pushed the Mavs into a fourth-place tie with Great Falls in the standings at 9-7. But the Mavs score 126 total runs on the conference season, compared the the Chargers' 88, to break the tie.
The Billings Royals clinched No. 1 and will play No. 8 Bozeman in the opening round of state at 4 p.m.
The defending state champion Helena Senators are No. 2. They had 12 more wins overall on the entire season (44) than anybody else in the league. They also lost 11 less times than anybody else in the league (11 losses). The will play No. 7 Lethbridge at 1 p.m. in the opening round.
The tournament host Billings Scarlets are No. 3 and will play the No. 6 Kalispell Lakers in the opening-round nightcap after the opening ceremony at 7 p.m.
HELENA--The Helena Senators swept Medicine Hat, Great Falls swept Bozeman, and Kalispell and the Scarlets split in Class AA conference doubleheaders Friday to end the regular season of conference play.
The Senators (12-4 in conference, 44-11 overall) clinched the No. 2 seed at the state tournament in Billings, starting Wednesday, with their 15-5 and 12-3 victories over Med Hat. They will play No. 7 Lethbridge (5-10, 13-20) in the opening round. Medicine Hat was eliminated from post-season play with the losses.
The No. 1 Billings Royals (13-3, 32-23), who were the only team not playing a conference doubleheader on Friday, will play No. 8 Bozeman (4-12, 21-37) in the opening round.
The Kalispell Lakers beat the Billings Scarlets in the first game, 5-3, of their doubleheader to secure the No. 6 seed. But the Scarlets scored three runs in the 7th inning to win the second game, 6-3, to secure the No. 3 seed. The two will rematch in the opening round of the state tournament in the final game of the opening day, with the Scarlets hosting the state tourney.
With their sweep over Bozeman, Great Falls nudged a half-game ahead of Missoula in the conference standings with a 9-7 record. Missoula is 8-7 with one game left with Lethbridge. Missoula holds the tiebreaker over Great Falls, with 133 runs scored in 16 conference games; Great Falls had 88 runs scored. As the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, the two will play each other in the first round of the state tourney.
*Standings updated through games of July 23. Conference season complete. Missoula breaks tie with Great Falls with 126 runs scored in the conference season, to the Chargers' 88.
*16-game conference schedule; 2 games apiece due to U.S.-Canadian border PRC testing. Canadian teams to play all road games; but split home/away status in doubleheaders.
*Top 8 teams advance to Class AA State Tournament in Billings from July 27-31.
*If teams are tied within conference standings, the tiebreaker is determined by total runs scored in all conference games.
*State champion advances to Northwest Regional Tournament in Gillette, Wyo., from Aug. 3-7.
*Regional champion advances to World Series in Shelby, N.C., from Aug. 11-16.
*Butte does not have a Class AA team this season; but will be realigning with Class AA again, starting in 2023.
*Teams' GameChanger accounts that upgraded apps this season are not viewable outside of the new mobile application; therefore, links to upgraded GC accounts are not available for websites... yet. (You can find them on your mobile device, though, using the new app.)
While the No. 1 seed has been clinched by the Billings Royals, the remaining seven seeds are still up for grabs on the final day of regular-season conference play.
No. 2 Helena hosts unranked Med Hat. No. 3 Billings Scarlets travels to No. 6 Kalispell. No. 4 Missoula hosts No. 7/8 Lethbridge. No. 5 Great Falls hosts No. 7/8 Bozeman.
BOZEMAN--Billings pitcher Jaiden Turner, Lance Schaaf, and Nathan Kojetin spread 10 hits and four walks over two games, striking out 13 in 13 innings of work to help lead the Royals to a 4-1 and 12-0 doubleheader sweep over Bozeman.
The Royals finished their regular-season conference slate at 13-3, clinching the No. 1 seed at the state tournament, which starts Wednesday ... in Billings. Helena is sitting No. 2 at 10-4 with two games left. The Billings Scarlets are sitting No. 3 at 9-5 with two games left. Missoula climbed to No. 4 at 8-6 with two games left. Great Falls is No. 5 at 7-7. Kalispell, Bozeman, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat are all below .500.
Bozeman stays locked in a tie for the No. 7-8 seed with Lethbridge. Medicine Hat has not been eliminated from the post season, yet.
On offense, Bryce LaForest had two hits, as did three other Royals, and two RBIs in the big win. Owen Douchette had four hits and three RBIs on the day.
The Bucks scored first on the day, and held a 1-0 until the Royals scored 4 runs in the third inning en route to the 4-1 first-game victory. Then scored often enough in the second game for the mercy rule to come in effect in the sixth inning.
GREAT FALLS--Great Falls pitchers Shane Jefferson and Austin Armstrong earned complete-game victories on Tuesday to help lead the Chargers to a doubleheader sweep, 7-0 and 2-1, of previously No. 2 Billings Scarlets.
Jefferson spread 11 hits (and no walks) over seven innings while striking out only four to help lead the Chargers to a 2-1 victory. Armstrong allowed just three hits (and, again, no walks) while striking out seven.
The victories improved Great Falls to 7-7 in conference play and into the No. 5 seed. The Scarlets fell to 9-5 and into the No. 3 seed.
MISSOULA--Missoula pitchers Eamon Higgins and Peyton Stevens each earned complete-game victories Tuesday, and No. 3 hitting right fielder H Black pounded in five RBIs on the day, to help lead the Mavs in making a statement, with an 11-1 and 14-4 doubleheader sweep of the No. 1-ranked Billings Royals.
After Monday's 10-run victories, Missoula vaults solidly into fourth place, especially given Kalispell's split with Med Hat on Tuesday. The Mavs improved to 8-6. The Royals dropped to 11-3.
Elsewhere in Class AA play, Helena beat Great Falls by 10 to forge a tie for second place with the Billings Scarlets. Coupled with the Missoula sweep of the front-running Royals, the Senators and Scarlets are just a game behind for second. The Mavs are three games back; with only two conference games left in the season, the can't get first, but could tie for second still.
Tie-breaking rules of MAALB
MISSOULA--The Missoula Mavs Class AA ALB team swept Medicine Hat in convincing fashion on Monday, 13-3 and 13-1, to improve to 6-6 in the conference standings.
The Mavs' .500 record puts them into fourth place in the conference standings, behind the Billings teams and Helena.
Med Hat dropped to 2-10, two victories behind both Lethbridge and Bozeman for last place in the standings, with just four conference games left in its season. They play Kalispell in a doubleheader on Tuesday. Two losses in Kalispell, coupled with a Lethbridge and Bozeman victory would eliminate Med Hat from post season play.
Elsewhere in Class AA games on Monday, the Billings Scarlets beat Helena, 10-6, in a makeup game from June 16. The Scarlets improved to 9-3 in conference play while Helena dropped to 9-4, in to third place.
HELENA--The Senators' No. 7 hitter Bohden Bahnmiller went 2-for-4 with 4 RBIs and pitched two innings of one-hit shutout ball to help lead Helena to a second-game 13-2 victory en route to a Class AA doubleheader sweep on Saturday.
Helena is now second place in the Class AA standings at 9-3, two games behind the front-running Billings Royals, and a half-game ahead of the Billings Scarlets.
Lethbridge dropped to 3-9, and is in a dogfight to make the state tournament.
In the first game, Walker Bennett and Manu Melo each went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs to help lead Helena to a 13-3 victory. While pitcher Tyler Tenney wasn't his usual self on the mound in victory, he delivered another 3 RBIs on offense.
BILLINGS--Billings pitcher Lance Schaaf struck out 15 in a one-hitter over six innings, and fellow pitcher Jaiden Turner struck out seven in complete-game shutout, as the Royals swept Kalispell, 5-0 and 3-0, Friday.
Lance's twin brother Austin, the Royals' left fielder and No. 2 hitter, provided support on offense, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a stolen base in that first-game victory.
Kalispell pitchers Oscar Kallis and Koysta Hoffman combined to allow just five hits, as well, in the loss.
In the second game, Nathan Kojetin earned the save on the mound by striking out three. He combined withLance Schaaf to strike out 18 batters over seven innings.
The Royals' No. 8 hitter, right fielder Adam Johnson, hit a two-run double and scored a run in the second inning, which was the only inning that any runs were scored.
The Royals improved to 11-1 in Class AA play and 29-19 overall on the season. The Lakers dropped to 5-7 in conference play and 27-20 overall.
Elsewhere, in Bozeman, Medicine Hat and Bozeman split a doubleheader. Bozeman is now 3-7, while Medicine Hat is 2-8, in conference play. Along with Lethbridge, the three teams are at the bottom of the Class AA standings with a week left in regular-season play. Only the last-placed team is eliminated from state tournament play.
BILLINGS-Missoula pitcher P Stevens pitched a complete-game gem against the second-ranked Billings Scarlets, then sloppy Missoula defense allowed the Scarlets to forge a doubleheader split on Thursday.
Stevens allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out eight to earn the first-game shutout on the mound. Missoula (30-32 overall) right fielder Hugh Black went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
In the second game, it was tied 9-9 going into the final inning. Missoula scored a run in the top of the seventh to take a 10-9 lead. But, the Billings Scarlets (27-19 overall on the season) answered in the final at bats, using some sloppy defense to their advantage before walking off an 11-10 victory.
Scarlets third baseman N McDonald and shortstop K Northrop combined to go 5-for-10 in the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, with five RBIs and three runs scored.
BOZEMAN--Missoula's Adam Jones and Nolan McCaffery pitched complete-game gems on Wednesday against Bozeman to help lead the Mavs to a 3-2 and 13-2 doubleheader sweep.
The Mavs improved to 3-5 on the conference season, and 29-31 overall.
Bozeman fell to 2-6 in conference, and 19-30 overall.
In the first game scoreless tie in the 5th inning, Jones helped his cause on the mound with a one-out triple and scored the game's first run on a Nick Beam single.
Jones earned the complete-game victory, spreading out eight hits and three walks while striking out six.
Ahead just 2-1 in the fourth inning of the second game, Jones hit an RBI single to start six consecutive Missoula batters plating a single run to claim an 8-1 lead en route to the 13-2 victory.
In the second game, McCaffery spread out seven hits and two walks while striking out six.
Beam had three hits in each game, scoring four runs, for Missoula.
Mavs teammate Chris Dill finished the day with five hits, and had three RBIs and three runs scored in the second game, where he was a home run away from hitting for the cycle.
Four Missoula players had three hits apiece as the Mavs knocked out 19 hits in the second game.
MEDICINE HAT, Alberta--The Lethbridge Elks swept the Medicine Hat Monarchs on Tuesday, 8-7 and 6-4. Only one of the games counted in the conference standings.
It looks to be a dogfight for the final three seeds into the state tournament among four teams, with Missoula, Bozeman, Med Hat, and Lethbridge each having either 1 or 2 conference victories at the conference season's midway point.
The Billings teams and Helena are sitting comfortably with seven or more wins apiece. Kalispell and Great Falls each have 5 wins, so far.
The conference schedule include 16 games. Only the last-placed team will be left out of the state tournament, which begins on July 27 in Billings.
HELENA--The Helena Senators kept pace with the Billings teams atop the standings with a sweep of the Kalispell Lakers on Monday, while Great Falls split a pair of doubleheaders with Lethbridge and Missoula over the last two days to grab ahold of second-tier placement in the standings with Kalispell.
The Senators beat Kalispell, 5-0 and 11-1, to improve to 7-3 in the Class AA standings. The two squared off in a pair of doubleheaders over the last two days with Helena sweeping all four games.
The Lakers fell to 5-5 in the standings, good for fourth place.
Great Falls split with Lethbridge on Sunday, losing 10-1 and winning 9-3. On Monday against Missoula, the Chargers lost 11-5 and won 7-4. The Chargers are now 5-6 in Class AA play.
Lethbridge is now 2-7 while Missoula is 1-5.
Four teams--Missoula, Bozeman, Lethbridge, and Med Hat-- have either 1 or 2 Class AA victories on the season.
One team will be eliminated from state tournament contention after the regular season. The state tourney starts in Billings on July 27.
BILLINGS--The Billings Scarlets and Royals each swept two doubleheaders following the 4th of July weekend, while the Helena Senators swept a single doubleheader, as the top teams separated themselves from the bottom teams in the standings with about two weeks left in the regular season.
Both Billings teams swept the Canadian teams in convincing fashion in all eight games. The Royals are now 9-1 in the standings while the Scarlets are 7-2.
Helena swept Missoula on Wednesday and is 5-3, in a tie for third place.
The Kalispell Lakers split a close doubleheader with Great Falls on Wednesday to improve to 5-3 in the standings, also tied for third.
All five other Class AA teams are below .500 on the conference season. But, while Great Falls and Bozeman have a combined five conference wins in the middle of the standings, Missoula, Med Hat, and Lethbridge have combined for just two conference victories.
KALISPELL--The Kalispell Lakers Class AA American Legion Baseball team split a doubleheader with the Lethbridge Elks on Friday to stay atop .500 ball on the conference season.
After Tuesday's doubleheader sweep by the Billings Royals over the Great Falls Chargers, the Royals improved to 5-1 on the conference season. Kalispell is second at 3-1. The Billings Scarlets are third at 3-2. The defending state champion Helena Senators are fourth at 3-3.
All other teams are below .500, with roughly three-quarters of the conference season to go, packed into a three weeks. The state tourney starts in less than a month.
HELENA--Talk about pitching to contact.
Helena pitcher Tyler Tenney allowed just three hits and no walks, while striking out just three, in using 69 pitches to earn a seven-inning complete game shutout and help lead the Senators to an 8-0 Class AA conference victory over Bozeman.
The Senators improved to 4-2 in conference play; Bozeman fell to 3-3.
Tenney induced 10 fly ball outs and 5 groundouts. His defense also backed him up with three double plays.
Tenney added some offense with an RBI double. Tycen Mooney went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Helena. Hunter Wallis had two hits and an RBI, and Hunter Bratcher had an RBI single and scored twice, in the win.
LETHBRIDGE, Alberta--Welcome back to the league!
Medicine Hat pitcher Payton Eddy struck out nine while spreading six hits and six walks over five innings, and outfielders J Bullock and E Morrison combined to go 6-for-8 with two doubles, a triple, four runs scored, and four RBIs to help lead the Moose Monarchs in beating Lethbridge, 13-3, on Saturday night.
With the Canadian-U.S. border closed over the last two seasons, it was the first MAALB Class AA victory for Medicine Hat (1-2) since 2019.
NOTE: Kalispell and Great Falls rescheduled their Class AA conference doubleheader from June 29 to July 6.
KALISPELL--So far this month in Class AA conference games, mother nature has postponed eight games, including the last four games across the state.
The wet spring has brought dangerous flooding across the state, including closing down Yellowstone National Park.
While the Kalispell Lakers and Missoula Mavs were able to reschedule a doubleheader a couple days later and the Helena Senators and Billings Scarlets were able to move a game up a day to get it in before the weather came, Great Falls, Helena, and the two Billings teams have endured five postponements that their make-up days haven't been determined.
On a brighter note, this week on Saturday, June 25, the two Canadian Class AA teams should play their first league game against each other since 2019.
GREAT FALLS--Great Falls pitcher Fox Weymouth pitched a one-hitter to help lead the Chargers to a 6-0 victory in game 1, then catcher B Evans was a home run short of hitting for the cycle in going 3-for-4 with four RBIs to help lead the Chargers complete the doubleheader sweep, 16-6, over Medicine Hat on Saturday.
The Chargers improved to 2-1 while Medicine Hat started the season 0-2.
Elsewhere in Class AA action, Helena pitcher Tyler Tenney hit the pitch count one batter shy of a complete-game victory, and right fielder H Wallis went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to pace the offense, as the Senators downed the Billings Scarlets, 8-1.
Helena improved to 2-3 on the conference season while the Scarlets dropped to 3-2.
It was the first time a Canadian team has played Class AA conference game in Montana since 2019. Border issues and the cost of individual covid PRC testing forced Montana teams to decide not to travel into Canada for the Class AA conference schedule. So, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are traveling into Montana for all conference games this season. With this being the first time they've played a conference game, it was decided today that in their doubleheaders, they would be the visiting team in one game and home team in the other. To alleviate financial and logistic issues for the Canadian teams, the Class AA conference schedule includes just two games between all teams. In years past, the conference schedule has included three and four games between opponents.
BILLINGS--Royals pitcher Jaiden Turner struck out 10 while walking none and spreading nine hits over seven innings, and Scarlets pitchers gave up nine walks and nine hits, as the Royals downed the Scarlets, 12-3, Friday night.
A quarter of the way through the regular-season conference schedule sees a three-way tie atop the Class AA standings, with the Royals, Scarlets, and Kalispell having 3-1 records.
The Royals' No. 9 hitter, center fielder Lance Schaaf, went 3-for-4 with a double, four RBIs and two runs scored. First baseman Davis Mosier had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs in the victory.
The teams tied each other with nine hits; but the Scarlets gave up nine walks while earning none.
BILLINGS--Cleanup hitter Michael Feralio went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs, and pitcher Spencer Berger spread seven hits and only one earned run over seven innings while striking out seven, to help the Scarlets hold off a late rally attempt by Bozeman to secure an 8-7 Class AA victory and complete a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday night.
The Scarlets sit atop the early-season standings at 3-0. Bozeman fell to 2-3. There are only 16 conference games for nine teams to seed themselves into the eight-team tourney, starting July 27 in Billings.
In the first game, Billings pitchers Jayden Averill and Bradley Wagner combined on an eight-strikeout four-hitter to spoil Bozeman pitcher Michael Armstrong's complete-game to help lead the Scarlets to a 6-2 victory.
Reschedule TBD... Hope all of you and your families across the state weather the flooding OK.
KALISPELL--In a pair of one-run victories, including the first in walk-off fashion, the Kalispell Lakers swept the Missoula Mavs on Tuesday night, 6-5 and 4-3.
These were the conference openers for each team, after Sunday's doubleheader in Kalispell were rained out and rescheduled to this date.
Kalispell pitchers Kostya Hoffman and Max Holder started on the mound in each game.
Hoffman started the first game and pitched six innings, allowing four hits, a walk, and two earned runs while striking out three and keeping his pitch count at 70. After a 1-1 ball game going into the 6th inning, he gave up two runs. But the Lakers rallied with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-3 lead into the 7th inning. Holder came in to start the 7th inning on the mound, trying to save the game, but the Mavs tied the game with two runs.
Kalispell's Elijah Owens led off the bottom of the 7th with a double off the right field wall, then was bunted over to third base. Oscar Kallis delivered the dramatics with a walk-off sacrifice fly to left field on the first pitch he saw as a pinch hitter.
HELENA--The Bozeman Bucks Class AA ALB team beat the defending state champion Helena Senators, 8-1, on Wednesday to open the Class AA conference slate.
Nine Class AA Montana-Alberta ALB teams are vying to earn the top eight spots into the Class AA State Tournament in Billings, starting on Wednesday, July 27. They will play a 16-game regular-season conference schedule to determine the top eight seeds for the state tourney.
It was an offseason of tough pills to swallow as the landscape of amateur baseball in Montana continues to change.
First, Class AA coaches and state chairmen met over Zoom Internet calls in December and January to figure out a conference schedule, which still included U.S.-Canadian border issues. The Montana teams all determined that they could not financially afford to pay for all of the individual PRC rapid testings every time they crossed the border to play either Lethbridge or Medicine Hat. All the while, both of the Canadian programs were trying to figure out if they were going to join an Alberta provincial league. But, eventually, both Lethbridge and Medicine Hat decided that they enjoy and appreciate the competition in Montana's American Legion Baseball so much after not being able to participate the last two seasons because of covid and the closed border, that their programs would travel down into Montana for all conference games.
To help offset the logistical and financial issues associated with traveling to play seven Montana teams in regular-season conference games, coaches agreed on a two-game schedule with each conference opponent. In years past, the teams have squared off three and four times apiece for a regular-season conference schedule. So, this year, each conference game is heavier, in terms of weight for the postseason.
Then, in January, the Montana High School Association officially adopted baseball for its high schools. For many reasons, Montana's Class AA coaches were worried and against the MHSA decision. High school baseball essentially cuts in half the Legion season. Coaches are also worried the kids will get their baseball fix during the high school season and not want to continue playing through the summer, so the programs' participation numbers could also dwindle. Also, coaches worry that inexperienced high school programs could not have an offseason pitching arm workout program and could abuse pitchers' arms in the early season (March, April, and May) in such a way that pitchers could suffer arm, shoulder, or elbow injuries and be unavailable for the summer.
Indeed, it's a changing landscape that's going to continue; but, the Montana American Legion Baseball program will continue to thrive.
Montana Class AA Chairman