MISSOULA — The first-place Missoula Mavericks are clicking on all cylinders as the American Legion Baseball season winds to a close. The Billings Scarlets found out the hard way on Tuesday night.
The Mavs piled up 34 total runs in a doubleheader sweep of the visitors, winning the first game 11-8 and clobbering the Scarlets, 23-7, in five innings in Game 2.
Missoula finished a three-game sweep over the Billings foe, improving to 12-1 in conference play. The Mavs hold a game-and-a-half lead over Bozeman at the top of the standings. The Scarlets fall to 7-12 and sit in seventh in the Class AA standings.
The two teams played leapfrog throughout much of the opening contest. The Scarlets jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Then the Mavericks responded with a big second inning and eventually led 6-2 after three innings.
Jarron Wilcox brought the Scarlets back with a three-run bomb over the fence in left to cut the lead to 6-5. Billings scored three more in the top of the sixth to take an 8-7 lead.
But Missoula responded in the bottom of the inning. Dayton Bay gave the Mavs the lead back with an RBI single. Tradd Richardson later drove in two more with a double to lead to the final score, 11-8.
Richardson, Bay and Bridger Johnson each drove in two runs in the victory for Missoula. Dane Fraser added three RBI. Wilcox totaled five RBI in the loss.
The Scarlets got out to a great start in Game 2, plating three runs in the top of the first. Then Missoula scored six runs in the first, eight in the second and nine in the fourth to reach 23 runs against five Billings pitchers who only managed to record 12 outs.
Leadoff hitter Brendon Hill led the onslaught, going 4-for-4, scoring three runs and driving in three more. Andrew Clausen went 2-for-4 with four RBI. Richardson and Johnson each drove in three runs a piece. Christian Michaelson went 3-for-3 in the loss for the Scarlets.