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Friday, March 23, 2018

Anthony Varriano photo

Blue Devils finish season by taking fourth place at Eastern A Tournament

“This is probably the biggest group of seniors we’ve lost at one time. Losing seven guys has quite the impact,” Brent Diegel Blue Devils head coach

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer


The Glendive American Legion baseball team (26-19) finished its season at the Eastern A District Tournament in Billings over the weekend, placing fourth out of seven teams. The top-ranked Laurel Dodgers took the title, and the Billings Cardinals were second despite an 11-1 mercy-rule loss to Glendive on Thursday.

Laurel 6, Blue Devils 1

Glendive advanced onto the second round of the winner’s bracket where the top seed awaited, but the Blue Devils just couldn’t string together many hits on Friday night. In fact, Glendive didn’t score until the ninth inning as the Dodgers rolled to victory.

Pacyn Partridge had half of his team’s hits, going 2-for-3 with a double and scoring the lone Glendive run. He also drew a walk and stole a base.

Adrian Valenciano drove Partridge home in the ninth with a double of his own. Gunnar Garpestad had the only other hit in the first inning.

Cody Rossi allowed six earned runs over six innings on seven hits, four walks and two hit batters. He struck out three and was relieved by Richie Franks, who pitched three shutout innings and allowed two hits, two walks and two hit batters while striking out two.

Blue Devils 8, 

Billings Blue Jays 7

The Blue Devils held on to beat the Blue Jays on Saturday. Glendive got another one of its patented fast starts, as Garpestad singled and Rossi drove in Garpestad and Logan LeProwse with a double.

LeProwse got out of some jams with the help of his teammates’ great defense, but a few balls were just out of reach. A hot shot ricocheted off first baseman Wyatt Buxbaum’s glove, and with runners on the corners, a bloop single fell in front of the sliding shortstop Partridge to make it 2-1 Glendive.

LeProwse went all nine innings allowing five earned runs on 11 hits, four walks and one hit batter while striking out three. He was also 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. 

The score remained 2-1 going into the seventh inning, when LeProwse started to labor, but Glendive got just what it needed in the seventh and eighth innings.

Richie Franks led off the seventh with a single and scored on a double by Garpestad. Anthony Lopez, who saved some runs with great play at third base, scored on a double by LeProwse after drawing a walk. 

Trevor Berreth led off the eighth with a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Buxbaum. Franks singled and was driven in by Garpestad, who singled. LeProwse’s second double plated the go-ahead run, and LeProwse then cut down the Blue Jays 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Garpestad was 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI. Franks was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Lopez finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Billings Cardinals 5, 

Blue Devils 4

The Blue Devils couldn’t get past the Billings Cardinals for a second time, though, as a late rally fell just short. Trevor Berreth got the start and went six and a third innings allowing three earned runs on 12 hits and a walk, striking out two. Josh Hoffer relieved him and allowed one earned run on three walks and two hits. He struck out three.

Cardinal pitching kept Glendive in check until the sixth inning, when Rossi singled to start a rally with two outs in the inning. Adrian Valenciano followed suit, and Partridge doubled to score Rossi. Jayden Holley drew a walk in a pinch-hit opportunity and was caught stealing but allowed Valenciano to score.

Franks was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh. Jake Rieger laid down his second sacrifice bunt, and Garpestad singled in Franks. Franks finished 1-for-2 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a run scored.

The Blue Devils got one more in the eighth, as Partridge went yard to get his team within one. Partridge was 4-for-4 with three doubles, a dinger, two RBI and a run scored in one of the great individual performances of the year.

Glendive couldn’t quite plate the tying run in the ninth, though. Cade Dockter got in the game and singled with one out in the inning. A pair of walks moved him to third base, but an infield fly foiled the Blue Devils’ chances. Rossi flew out to center to end the game.

The Blue Devils will look a lot different next year, as the team will lose seven players, including All-State and All-Conference award-winner Garpestad, and All-Conference players Hoffer and Rossi.

“We’re losing our top two pitchers, one of the best center fielders in the conference, or the state I should say, one of the top catchers in my opinion, Anthony Lopez, who became a hell of a third baseman. Richie Franks, who is always consistent at second base and as a pitcher … Trevor Berreth … so we’re losing a lot of leadership,” head coach Brent Diegel commented. 

Diegel is unsure of the number of 15 year olds who will play Legion next year, but the Legion B team has been rolling opponents all season, offering a glimpse of the future. The Devils have some young pitching coming up, but they’ll likely have to score more runs than they did this year with Hoffer and Rossi toeing the rubber.

“This is probably the biggest group of seniors we’ve lost at one time. Losing seven guys has quite the impact,” Diegel said. “Having that B team is a big difference. A lot of those kids played 30 games … (David) Skerritt, Holley, (Tyler) Clapp and Dockter — they’re ready to step up, and, of course, Pacyn was Pacyn.”

Reach Anthony Varriano at rrsports@rangerreview.com.

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