Belgrade Bandits 1

Belgrade’s Cooper VanLuchene connects on a pitch earlier this season at Medina Field.

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After taking a 4-0 lead into the fifth inning Thursday, things began to unravel for Belgrade in a first-round game at the Class A tournament.

Laurel scored a pair of runs in the fifth to cut the deficit in half and then added four more in the sixth to rally for a 6-4 victory.

“We didn’t throw strikes. When we went to the bullpen, we didn’t throw strikes,” Belgrade manager Johnny Graham said. “So it’s hard to maintain a lead let alone win a ball game without filling up the strike zone.”

Cooper VanLuchene started on the mound and limited the Dodgers to five hits through five innings of work. Mason Jacobsen allowed two runs and failed to register an out in the sixth, and Payton Burman allowed two more runs before Gavin Waters took over on the mound.

The Bandits had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh after Aidan Kulbeck reached on an error and Lane Neill singled. But after Keaton Carter failed to advance the runners on a sacrifice bunt, Kash Fike grounded into a game-ending double play.

Belgrade scored a run in the second and third to take a 2-0 lead, and then added two more in the third after Jacobsen and Kulbeck, who had reached base on singles, scored on the same error.

Neill and Brody Jacksha each finished with two hits.

Belgrade (46-18), which had its 14-game winning streak snapped, plays a loser-out game against Glacier or Havre at 1 p.m. Friday.

“Our biggest win streak of the season was 14 games. This doesn’t require that, so we’ve done that before. We’re fully capable of doing it,” Graham said. “So we ask the guys to believe in not just themselves, but one another and we push forward.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.

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