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.