The Mission Valley Mariners completed their trip through the Western A district tournament unscathed Sunday with a 10-2 American Legion baseball defeat of the Libby Loggers in the tourney’s championship game before a sun-drenched crowd at Lindborg-Cregg Field.
Both teams earned berths at the state tournament beginning Thursday in Great Falls after the Loggers ousted the Bitterroot Bucs earlier in the day, 17-8.
Maybe it was the blistering sun that took its toll on the Loggers in their second game of the day. But top seed Mission Valley scored five runs in the first inning of the title tilt to grab the upper hand early on.
In their first at-bat, the Mariners collected seven hits, including a two-run single off the bat of left fielder Cole McArthur and a two bunt singles by leadoff hitter Justin Evertz.
Mission Valley manager Jami Hanson thought his team’s big first inning was its key to victory.
“It does take a lot of pressure off the guys when you start the way we did this afternoon,” he said. “They’re playing relaxed and playing against a team they know well and get along with. You get that big first inning, put all the pressure on the other team and if you’re playing good defense you can put even more pressure on the other team.”
The Loggers scratched out a pair of runs in the second on fielder’s -choice goundouts by Andrew Haggerty and Cameron Burkes.
But that was all Libby could muster off Mariners pitcher Dalton Molzhon, who went the distance and allowed just five hits, all of which were singles. Molzhon walked two, fanned a pair and held the Loggers scoreless over the final seven frames.
“Over the course of the tournament, our pitching staff did a great job,” Hanson said. “We hit the ball pretty well and ran the bases very well. The defense has been there all tournament.”
Evertz went 3 for 5 and Mission Valley third baseman Robbie Gauthier hit a solo inside-the-park homer to center field in the second. Each finished with two RBIs and the Mariners received a pair of singles from Molzhon hitting in the ninth slot.
Luke Haggerty allowed 11 hits in going the distance on the mound for the Loggers in a bulldog effort. He walked just one and didn’t record a strikeout.
Libby second baseman Will Reichel singled twice in four at-bats to lead the Logger offense.
Afterward, Hanson said his team won’t be satisfied with winning a regular-season district title and a tournament championship.
“This was one of our goals and it was nice to meet it.” Hanson said. “The first was winning the conference, the second was winning the district tournament and we’re going to keep going from there. We’ve still got other goals to meet.”
Libby 020 000 000 – 2 5 6
Mis. Valley 513 010 00x – 10 11 2
Luke Haggerty and Micah Germany. Dalton Molzhon and Jack Humphreys. W – Molzhon. L – Haggarty.
LIBBY – L. Haggerty 0-4, Will Reichel 2-4, Jared Winslow 0-4, Germany 0-3, Oliver Grupenhoff 1-3, Nic Robertson 1-3, Andrew Haggerty 0-4, Josh Foote 0-2, Cameron Burkes 1-3.
MISSION VALLEY – Justin Evertz 3-5, Zeke Webster-Yaqui 0-5, Robbie Gauthier 2-4, Chris Clary 1-4, Jacob Young 1-5, Humphreys 0-3, Cole McArthur 1-5, Bradley Pilcher 1-3, Molzhon 2-4.
HR – Gauthier. RBIs – A. Haggerty, Burkes, Gauthier 2, Young, McArthur 2, Pichler, Molzhon.
Libby 17, Bitterroot Bucs 8
Nic Robertson capped his big day with a grand slam in the ninth inning to power the Loggers into the title game with a win over the Bucs.
Robertson was 4 for 6 and finished with eight RBIs. He had a three-run double in the eighth inning.
Andrew Haggerty added three hits and three RBIs for the Loggers.
Kadin Beller was 3 for 5 with an RBI triple for the Bucs. He finished with three RBIs. Dylan Reed was 4 for 5 with two RBIs.
The Bucs finished their season at 44-23.
Loster takes third
Libby 000 611 144 – 17 21 1
Bucs 210 201 002 – 8 14 3
Will Reichel, Micah Germany (4) and Oliver Grupenhoff. Riley Phillips, Austin Nogle (5), Tommy Shepard (8) and Kadin Beller. W – Germany. L – Phillips (10-5).
State Babe Ruth: Hi-Line edges Kalispell Lakers
Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2012 11:44 pm
Kiel Krumwiede scored on a RBI single by Jake Page in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting Hi-Line to a 4-3 victory over the Kalispell Lakers in the championship game of the Montana State 15/13U Babe Ruth baseball tournament at Kidsports Complex on Sunday.
Krumwiede singled, stole second and advanced to third. He crossed home plate on a line-drive to right by Page.
“They were just a real good team and so were we,” Lakers coach Roger Rich said.
“We fell a little short. They will represent Montana real well.”
Hi-Line advances to the Babe Ruth Regional championships in Kelso, Wash., next week.
Hi-Line also beat the Lakers on Friday, 13-7, in semifinal play of the double-elimination event.
“I’m proud of my kids for not giving up,” Rich said.
“It would have been easy to do so (down 3-0 in the finale). Thanks also to my assistant coaches (Rick McCamley and Jay Engle) for all their hard work this year.”
Hi-Line led 3-0 after four innings. The Lakers finally rallied in the top of the seventh to force extra innings.
Kyler Harkins led off with a single, Jordan Engle walked and Sam McCamley doubled in Harkins and Engle.
McCamley scored later in the inning.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” Rich said.
“Zach Sands did a terrific job pitching. He went seven innings for us. Harkins got things rolling for us.”
The Lakers started the day with a 13-6 loser-out victory over the Northern All-Stars.
Walker Malmin, Harkins and McCamley shared pitching duties in that win.
Offensively for the Lakers: Engle was 1 for 4; McCamley 1 for 3 and scored twice; Jeff Bengston 1 for 2, singled, walked twice and scored three times; Justin Rich 3 for 4 with a single, two doubles, three RBIs and scored twice; Brett Thomas 3 for 4 with two RBIs and scored three times; Sands 2 for 4; Malmin 1 for 1 and scored a run; and Jacob Link 1 for 1.
Chasen Eaves hit the Lakers lone run home at the state tournament versus Miles City on Friday.
Riley Nahrgang and Andy Bemis were solid in right field for the Lakers the entire tournament.
The Lakers finished 4-2 in state play, winning three straight.
The Lakers posted an 18-5 mark overall, scoring 227 runs and allowing just 78.