High Fives

Lane Neill (19) exchanges high-fives with teammates after scoring a run in Thursday night’s opener against Gallatin Valley at Medina Field. The Bandits rallied for 6-5 Southern A victories in both contests.

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One day after clinching the No. 1 seed in the Southern A, Belgrade won a pair of dramatic games in its home finale at Medina Field.

Walk-off singles by Cole Thomas in the seventh inning and Aidan Kulbeck in the eight inning lifted the Bandits to a pair of 6-5 victories Thursday night. While Belgrade rallied to win both contests, manager Johnny Graham felt the wins lacked execution and focus.

“Winning one-run ball games is an important thing, but we didn’t execute in the seventh inning of this one (game 2). And quite honestly, we were poor defensively all night,” he said. “We had some mental miscues throughout the night, so I think the competitive nature bailed us out a bit. But we didn’t play a very good brand of baseball all night.”

Headed Home

Gallatin Valley’s Brody Ayers sprints home en route to scoring a run in the opener Thursday against Belgrade.

Belgrade loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh in Game 2 but failed to score the game-winning run. In the eighth, however, Mason Jacobsen hit a stand up double to the left field wall with one out, and then advanced to third on a ground out. He scored when Kulbeck hit a liner to center.

The Bandits also loaded the bases in the seventh inning in Game 1 en route to Thomas’ game-winning single.

The Outlaws had taken a 5-2 lead in the third and held one-run leads three times in the nightcap. Thus, it was a frustrating finish to both games for longtime Gallatin Valley coach Duwayne Scott.

“The biggest thing is we just got so many new guys that they’ve got to learn how to win games, and that’s where we’re at right now is trying to get over that hump,” he said. “We’ve got to have some guys step up over the course of the rest of this season with hitting with runners in scoring position.”

The Outlaws tallied 10 hits in the opener, including six doubles, but struggled with runners in scoring position. Seven runners were left on base in Game 1 and then 10 in the nightcap.

“We had quite a few opportunities, I thought, to get some runs that we left out on the board,” Scott said. “That’s what we just kind of talked about after the game was having a mentality at the plate that you’re going to get a hit with runners in scoring position.”

Diving Back

Gallatin Valley’s Brady Jones dives safely into first base on a pickoff attempt Thursday against Belgrade at Medina Field.

Brody Ayers, Cyrus Richardson and Josh Wisecarver each went 2 for 4 in the opener, and Richardson and Wisecarver hit doubles. Richardson also had a double in Game 2.

Belgrade finished with 12 hits in Game 1 led by Lane Neill, who was 3 for 3 with a triple. In the nightcap, Kulbeck finished 3 for 5, while Keaton Carter and Jacobsen each had two hits.

Gavin Waters, who saw his first action of the season last week following an injury, made his first start on the mound in Game 2. After big pitch counts in the first two innings, which contributed to seven walks, he finally found a groove in the third and allowed just two hits and struck out six.

“He sort of settled down and became competitive again and trusted the fact that he could attack the strike zone and have success,” said Graham. “I was really excited about that because he’s a good arm.”

Belgrade clinched the league title and No. 1 seed at district with 13-0 and 17-2 routs of Bozeman Wednesday. Coby Richards tossed a 4-hitter and struck out 13 in the opener, while Jacobsen scattered six hits and struck out four in Game 2.

Richards was also 2 for 3 at the plate and had two of the team’s four doubles in Game 1. The Bandits also belted five triples in the doubleheader and 14 extra base hits.

On The Hill

Belgrade’s Cooper VanLuchene delivers a pitch Thursday night against Gallatin Valley at Medina Field.

“I thought we were pretty offensive. We did a nice job of running the bases. We swung the bat pretty well,” said Graham. “Coby was outstanding on the mound, Mason I thought threw pretty well in game two, so good couple of wins.”

Belgrade wraps up the regular season Friday at Anaconda, while Gallatin Valley travels to Dillon Saturday before hosting Livingston Sunday.

Belgrade 13, Bozeman 0

Belgrade                  150 115  -  13  12  0

Bozeman                  000 000  -   0    4  2

Coby Richarads and Seth Green. Corbin Holzer, Gannon McGarrah (3) and Lane Harrison.

BELGRADE (29-15) - Lane Neill 2-4 (3B), Cole Thomas 1-4 (2B), Green 1-3 (3B), Richards 3-4 (2 2B, 3B), Mason Jacobsen 2-3, Cooper VanLuchene 2-4, Aidan Kulbeck 0-3, Keaton Carter 0-3, Isaiah Brandhorst 1-3 (2B).

BOZEMAN - Michael Armstrong 0-3, Andrew Western 1-3, Holzer 0-3, McGarrah 0-1, Daryn Shepard 0-3, Kaden Thomson 1-2 (2B), Zane Haarer 0-2, Dillon Coleman 2-2, Daniel Beers 0-2, Harrison.

Belgrade 17, Bozeman 2

Belgrade                  016 912  -  17  11  3

Bozeman                  100 100  -   2    6  2

Mason Jacobsen and Seth Green. Andrew Western, Kaden Thomson (3), CJ Shirley (4), K. Herston (4) and Lane Harrison.

BELGRADE (30-15) - Lane Neill 1-1 (3B), Cole Thomas 2-3 (2 2B), Green 2-5 (2B), Coby Richards 1-3, Aidan Kulbeck 3-3 (2B, 3B), Jacobsen 1-2, Cooper VanLuchene 0-3, Keaton Carter 1-3 (2B), Isaiah Brandhorst 0-3.

BOZEMAN - Nate Palithope 1-2, Western 1-2, Corbin Holzer 1-2, Zane Haarer 1-3, Thomson 0-1, Jackson Burke 0-2, Gannon McGarrah 0-1, Dillon Coleman 1-2, Harrison 1-1, Daniel Beers 0-1, Michael Armstrong 0-2.

Belgrade 6, Gallatin Valley 5

Gallatin Valley       023 000 0  -  5  10  1

Belgrade                112 010 1  -  6  12  2

Caleb Kamerman and Brandon Beedie. Cooper VanLuchene and Seth Green.

GALLATIN VALLEY (24-21) - Brady Jones 0-2, Josh Wisecarver 2-4 (2B), Isaac Richardson 1-4 (2B), Bo Hays 1-4 (2B), Cyrus Richardson 2-4 (2B), Brody Ayers 2-4, Beedie 1-3 (2B), Austin Devers 1-3, Trevor Doud 0-3.

BELGRADE (31-15) - Lane Neill 3-3 (3B), Cole Thomas 1-2, Green 2-2, Coby Richards 2-3, Mason Jacobsen 0-2, Stran Knudsen 0-2, VanLuchene 1-3, Keaton Carter 2-3, Isaiah Brandhorst 1-3.

Belgrade 6, Gallatin Valley 5

Gallatin Valley 100 022 00  -  5  4  3

Belgrade           200 030 01  -  5  8  3

Patrick Dietz, Austin Devers (1), Vasarella (7) and Cyrus Richardson. Gavin Waters, Lane Neill (5) and Seth Green.

GALLATIN VALLEY (24-21) - Brady Jones 1-3, Josh Wisecarver 1-5, Bo Hays 1-3, Cyrus Richardson 1-3 (2B), Brody Ayers 2-4, Isaac Richardson 0-4, Brandon Beedie 0-4, Patrick Dietz 0-2, Trevor Doud 0-2.

BELGRADE (31-15) - Lane Neill 1-3, Cole Thomas 0-4, Green 0-3, Coby Richards 0-3, Mason Jacobsen 2-3 (2B), Cooper VanLuchene 1-3 (2B), Aidan Kulbeck 3-5 (2B), Keaton Carter 2-4, Isaiah Brandhorst 1-2.

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