BILLINGS — Round 3 goes to the Royals.
Dann Blanchard pitched a complete game, allowing just one run on four hits as the Billings Royals defeated the Billings Scarlets 3-1 Monday night in the rivals’ third American Legion Baseball meeting of the season. The Royals now own a 2-1 series lead.
Blanchard struck out five and didn’t walk a batter on a night when he also picked off two runners, including Brooks Rohrer for the final out of the game in the top of the seventh inning.
Scarlets starter Andy Larsen, who shut out the Royals over five innings in the teams’ last meeting, also threw a complete game, allowing just one earned run, but two other unearned runs crossed the plate in the third to hand him the loss.
After Michael Moreland reached on an infield single and advance to second on an error, Connor Hunter hit the first pitch he saw into right-center to bring home Moreland for a 1-0 Royals lead. Hunter later scored what would turn out to be the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
The Scarlets’ biggest threat came in the fifth. With runners on the corners and only one out, Michael Zaske pulled a ball into the hole. Hunter scooped it and threw to second to get Logan Meyer out, though the Scarlets believed he was safe. Cory Brownson scored on the play, but Zaske was picked off moments later to end the inning.
Cole Miller drove in Brenden Concepcion with an RBI double in the sixth for a Royals insurance run.