Legion tourney: Slow start dooms Mavs

Star Staff

Surrendering five runs in the first inning wasn’t the way to start a state tournament.

The Medicine Hat Knights, a Canadian team, jumped on the Miles City Mavericks early and went on to win 12-2 in six innings in the opening game of the 2017 Montana-Alberta State Class A Legion Baseball Tournament this morning in Three Forks.

Miles City, which fell to 25-19, dropped into the loser’s bracket and will play again at 9 a.m. Friday against the loser of the Belgrade-Kalispell game that was played this afternoon. The tourney is double-elimination.

The Mavericks went down 1-2-3 to start the game, then were hit for five runs when they gave up four singles, committed three errors and hit a batter.

After the Mavericks closed to 5-2 in the top of the fourth, it became 10-2 when the Albertans again scored five times in the lower fourth on four singles, a double and two walks, one with the bases loaded.

Starter Clay Prell took the loss. He pitched into the fourth and was charged with nine runs — four earned — before giving way to Cameron Muri, who got two outs but walked three and was replaced by Kayden Hager, who notched the final out of the fourth.

The first Miles City run was scored without the benefit of a hit in the third inning. Matthew Regan reached on a fielder’s choice and scored following two infield errors on ground balls hit by brothers Jared and Jess Bellows.

After Miles City hit into a double play in the fourth, two-out singles by Kip Krebsbach, Mason Dinardi and Jacob Swope produced the second run.

But the second five-run explosion and another run in the fifth made it a nine-run deficit. Hager was replaced by Kole Lohrke with the bases loaded following two walks and two errors. Lohrke allowed only a sacrifice fly and got the third out to prevent the game ending in five innings by the 10-run rule.

Winning pitcher Ethan Boutkan went the distance, striking out six and walking two. He also drove in the game-ending run with his third hit of the day, going 3-for-3 with a walk, driving home four runs and scoring three times.

The Knights outhit the Mavericks 11-5  and the winners were helped by seven walks and five errors. All of the Miles City hits were singles. Medicine Hat had five players who each scored at least two runs and fourth with at least two hits apiece.

Medicine Hat, the No. 2 qualifier from the North District, plays at 2 this afternoon against the winner of the Belgrade-Kalispell game. Belgrade was the winner of the annual Harry Griffith Tournament last month in Miles City.