Mavs show improvement in split with Billings

Abe Winter
Star Staff Writer

This time the Miles City Mavericks didn’t get “smoked.”

Instead, they split a doubleheader with the Billings Cardinals, winning 8-6 and losing 10-6, Wednesday night at Connors Stadium.

“They smoked us pretty good over there,” Miles City coach Jake Mills said, referring to losses of 15-7 and 12-2 on June 2 in Billings. “But we’ve made some strides in the last three weeks.”

That showed in the opener when the Mavericks broke the 6-6 tie with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. The winning rally started with a walk to Jared Bellows, a bunt single by Jess Bellows and a one-out two-run double by Clay Prell, who also singled and had a sacrifice fly for a third RBI.

Nathan Zard earned the win after relieving starter Jess Bellows with the Cardinals up 4-3. Bellows allowed only one hit but walked five in his two innings.

Zard helped himself with a two-run single in the first and it became a 3-0 lead when Deven Doughty added an RBI single.

It was 5-4 for Billings when the Mavericks started the fourth with three straight singles by Kip Krebsbach, Mason Dinardi and Jacob Swope, the latter two on bunts. Matthew Regan then walked to force in one run and another run scored on a wild pitch.

Zard allowed two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three.

“It felt good to get back out there,” Zard said. “Everything’s coming together for us and the infield is making great plays.

“It’s a real confidence booster going into the end of the season.”

In the nightcap the Mavericks fell behind 3-0 in the first and it was 6-0 after surrendering another three in the third. Then the rally started with two in the fourth and, after giving up a run in the sixth, the Mavericks struck for four to make it 7-6 with one inning to play.

Singles by Jess Bellows, Krebsbach, Jack Cline and Kayden Hager, the latter driving in two runs, made it 7-4. Singles runs were plated on groundouts by Braden Marum and Mason Dinardi to close to 7-6.

But the Cardinals, who are 13-3 in league play and 26-16 overall, put it away with three in the seventh before reliever Cash Golden closed it with a scoreless lower seventh.

“When’s we’re pitching strikes, we’re a tough team to beat,” Billings coach Jeremy DeVries said before lauding the Mavericks for improved play. “That’s a good team over there.”

Jess Bellows tripled, doubled and singled, driving in three runs to lead Miles City, which is 10-10 in league play and 15-15 overall.

The Mavericks are idle until next Wednesday when they play the Dawson County (Glendive) Blue Devils in a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.

The Blue Devils won their pool and lost 4-3 to Belgrade in the championship game of last week’s Harry Griffith Tournament at Connors Park.

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)