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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Blue Devils end regular season with losses at home

By Kevin Miller

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The regular season conference play for the Blue Devils came to an end on Thursday at Meissner Memorial Field.  The Glendive baseball squad hosted the Laurel Dodgers for an Eastern A conference doubleheader. This marked the final home games for four Blue Devil players.  Anthony Berg, Justin Pizano and Victor Pulse from Glendive and Josh Stickel from Fallon played for the last time as a Blue Devil out at Meissner Field.

Unfortunately for these four players and their teammates the Dodgers swept the twin bill. A three-run third and a two-run fourth carried the Laurel team to a 5-2 win in the opener. In the nightcap a four-run 5th inning by the Dodgers was too much for the home team.  The final in game two was 6-1.

Richie Franks pitched a complete game seven-hitter for the Blue Devils in game one. His teammates also knocked out seven hits but the Devils could not match Laurel in runs produced.  Glendive did not commit an error in the field while Laurel had two miscues. 

Berg had a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning.  Adrian Valenciano followed with a base on balls and then Berg would come around to score on a single by Victor Pulse. The Dodgers went up 3-1 with three runs in the top of the 3rd.

Glendive got one run back in its half of the 3rd when Gunnar Garpestad drew a one-out walk and would score.  Berg drove him in with a single to run the score to 3-2. The Dodgers picked up two more tallies in the fourth. 

The Blue Devils again scored a run in the bottom of the 1st in the second game to go up 1-0. They would hold this lead until Laurel tied the game in the fourth. The pivotal inning was the top of the fifth when the Dodgers plated four runs. Laurel would add on an insurance run in the sixth.

Trevor Berreth started on the hill for Glendive in the nightcap and pitched a complete game.  He gave up 11 hits to the Dodgers.  The Blue Devils could only manage four hits over the seven innings.  Garpestad scored the lone Blue Devil run.  He drew a walk and then came around to score on an RBI single by Valenciano.  Berg and Franks also had singles in the 1st inning for the Devils. The only other hit for Glendive after the 1st inning came off of the bat of Tai Sokoloski.

Earlier in the week the blue Devils travelled to Lewistown and Billings.  On Tuesday in Lewistown the Redbirds took a pair from the Devils.  The next day in Billings, Glendive swept a pair from the Cardinals.

Glendive fell behind 5-1 after just the 1st inning in the opener in Lewistown but then battled back to take a 7-5 lead in the top of the 6th.  However, they let the game slip away as the Redbird answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.  The home team held on for an 8-7 victory.

Cody Rossi was the starting pitcher for Glendive and he suffered the loss. Anthony Lopez pitched in relief. Berg was 2-3 in the game with four RBI’s.  Valenciano, Sokoloski and Garpestad were all 2-4 with an RBI each.

Berg pitched a complete game in the second contest with Lewistown. He gave up just four hits but walks and three defensive errors were too much for the Blue Devils to overcome as the Redbirds pulled out a 5-2 win to gain the sweep.

Lewistown scored twice in the second and two more in the third to go up 4-0. Glendive scored once each in the fifth and sixth. Lewistown added its final run in the fifth. Stickel was 2-4 with an RBI. Berg was 2-3.

The Blue Devils jumped on the Cardinals in the top of the 1st with a four-run inning in a 6-5 decision for the Devils.  The Billings team had taken a 5-4 lead with four runs in the bottom of the fifth but the Devils responded with two runs in the top of the sixth.

Josh Hoffer pitched a complete game to earn the win.  Hoffer allowed just five hits and struck out six Cardinal batters.  Stickel was 3-4 in the ballgame.  Sokoloski had a pair of hits and drove in a run.

After two and a half scoreless innings in game two between the Devils and the Cardinals the home team broke through with a run in the bottom of the third.  They would extend their lead to five with a four-run fourth.  But the Devils were hungry for another win and the bats came alive in the fifth. The Glendive squad battled back to score eight straight runs over three innings. After all was said and done the Blue Devils got the sweep with an 8-6 triumph.

Stickel started on the mound for Coach Diegel and went five innings.  Berg came on in relief of Stickel. He pitched the sixth and seventh and picked up the win. Franks and Lopez provided the offensive spark for the Blue Devils second win.  Franks and Lopez were both 2-3 with an RBI.

These six games over three consecutive days left the Blue Devil team with a 14-14 conference mark and a fourth place finish in the Eastern A regular season.  The Glendive team will step out of conference play on Sunday when they travel to Miles City for one nine-inning affair with the Outlaws.

The Eastern A District Tournament will get underway on Wednesday in Sidney.  The first game of the tourney will pit the Blue Devils, the No. 4 seed, against the No. 5 seed Billings Cardinals. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Moose Park.

Blue Devils    100 123 0    -    7  11  2

Redbirds        500 003 x    -    8   5  1

 Blue Devils    000 011 0    -    2  5  3

Redbirds        022 010 x    -    5  4  1         

 Blue Devils    400 002 0    -    6  9  3

Cardinals       010 040 0    -    5  5  4

 Blue Devils    000 041 3    -    8  8  3

Cardinals       001 400 1    -    6 10 0

 Dodgers         003 200 0    -    5  7  2

Blue Devils    101 000 0    -    2  7  0   

 Dodgers         000 141 0    -    6 11 0

Blue Devils    100 000 0    -    1  4  0

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