Lakers Come Up Short at State Tournament

Kalispell's season comes to an end with loss to Billings Scarlets at Griffin Field

The Billings Scarlets exploded for 16 runs in the top of the fifth inning to end the Kalispell Lakers AA team’s quest for a state championship with a 17-1 win July 31 at Griffin Field.

The Scarlets led 1-0 after four innings and got a three-run Ben Tallman home run before tallying 13 more times with two outs in the fifth. Billings remains alive in the double-elimination tournament along with the Lethbridge Elks and Billings Royals. All three teams have one loss so far.

For the Lakers (39-16) the loss marks a bitter end to what had been an outstanding season, one in which Kalispell was looking to win a state championship for the first time since 1978. The Lakers were hosting the Class AA Montana/Alberta American Legion state tournament for the first time in 13 years. Seeded second in the eight-team tournament, the Lakers beat Helena 4-2 in the opening round before losing 3-1 against the third-seeded Royals on July 29. Kalispell came back to beat the Missoula Mavericks 3-2 July 30 and stay alive before Tuesday’s lopsided loss.

Ryan Symmes went 1-for-3 and drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth inning for Kalispell on Tuesday. The game ended due to the 10-run rule after the fifth inning. Johan Freudenburg pitched the first 4 2/3 innings and was saddled with the loss.

Randy Stultz was the Lakers’ leading hitter in the tournament, going 6-for-13 (.462), while Logan Siblerud (.333), Ryan Symmes (.333) and Eric Seaman (.308) also had strong showings. On the mound, Sam Elliott (7 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K), Drew Scherrer (7 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K) and Siblerud (5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K) carried most of the load.