THREE FORKS — The Gallatin Valley Outlaws took third place in the Class A state tournament last year, but they returned many starters and now they’re looking to make a run for a state title in 2021.
“These guys were pretty hungry," said head coach Duwayne Scott. "They weren’t really happy with how it ended last year. This winter they put in a lot of time early in the year here and got themselves ready for the summer.”
In Legion baseball, having a deep pitching staff is key. Scott knows he has three aces: Patrick Dietz, Mayson Shively and Bo Hays. In total, he has between eight and 10 pitchers he can rely on.
“We have guys that we can rely on to go four, six innings and then we have the young guys to close it out," said Hays.
On the mound in 51 innings, Dietz has racked up 85 strikeouts and a 2.47 ERA. Shively has a 2.16 ERA with 55 strikeouts. Hays has only pitched 25 innings, but has a 1.12 ERA and 31 strikeouts.
“I like our staff," said Scott. "We go eight to 10 deep and we’ll bring up a couple young guys off our B team for districts and state that we feel will contribute as well and may even be better than some of the guys we have on our staff now. I really like where we’re at from a pitching standpoint.”
One perk of Legion ball is the ability to travel around to face good teams from Montana and different states. The Outlaws just beat a club from Excelsior, Minnesota that plays at the AA level in Minnesota.
“I think it gave our guys some confidence to go play with a club like that and beat them, which hopefully will propel us over the next month,” Scott said.
After a slow start, they’re currently sitting at fourth in the Southern A standings. However, they feel as though their team is coming together as a unit and hitting their stride at the right time.
“The team atmosphere is so important to the game that we can play well together and make everything smooth and connect," said pitcher and infielder Isaac Richardson, who has a .458 batting average and leads the team with 76 hits. "It’s been really awesome.”
As coach of the team since the late 1990s, Scott described how this team is different from all the others he has coached.
“This team loves to play the game," he said. "They’re a really tight-knit group. They love to play for each other. They’re good friends on and off the field. I feel that’s really important.”