BILLINGS – It was a busy, home-opening Saturday for the Billings Royals.
The defending State AA champions played two games in two different parks on their first day of competition in Billings this season, splitting with a 5-0 loss to Rapid City followed by a 4-2 win over the Missoula Mavericks.
Dylan Richey pitched five shutout innings for the Hardhats in the opener at Pirtz Field, striking out nine to earn the win. He allowed just two singles and a walk. Dann Blanchard had allowed just one run through five innings to keep pace, but exited in the top of the sixth after giving up a baserunner that came around to score in a four-run inning.
Matthew Hegre was 4-4 and scored two runs for the visitors.
The Royals rebounded in their second game of the day, beating the Mavs at Dehler Park. Missoula took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Royals jumped ahead 3-2 by the bottom of the second. Blanchard was 3-4 at the plate with two doubles and two RBI while Michael Morehead, Noah Aufdengarten and Jaeden Jordahl each had two hits.
The Royals (4-2) return to action Sunday with another game against Rapid City at 12:00 p.m. at Pirtz.