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Billings Royals’ regional run, season ends with loss to Idaho, 11-6

MISSOULA – The Montana state champion got out to a tremendous start in a final-four game at the Northwest Regional Tournament on Saturday. But after that, the Billings Royals couldn’t solve the Idaho state champs.

The Mountain View Toros came back from a 6-0 deficit in the first inning to eliminate the Royals, 11-6.

Billings could not have scripted a better start. Brooks Zimmer doubled, Jayden Kay doubled, Jarret Leinwand was hit by a pitch, Dawson Smith singled, and Nik Nordstog drew a walk all before the first out. Connor Hunter and Connor Polkowske added RBI singles, and the Royals scored six runs in the top of the first.

Mountain View scored three runs to cut into the lead, and had the bases loaded with one out. Charlie Tentiger hit a hard grounder to first that Smith deflected on a dive. After one run scored, Smith’s throw home bounced away into the dugout, allowing two more runs to cross. Suddenly, Billings’ lead was gone. Mountain View’s next batter, Blake Jabloski, singled in Tentiger to give the Toros a lead they would never give up.

Idaho extended the lead with single runs in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings. Billings threatened with the bases loaded in the fifth and put runners on first and second with no one out in the sixth, but could not score again. A groundout to second with a runner on first ended the game in the seventh inning.

The Toros will now face Saleh, Washington for the championship at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. A win moves Mountain View into the Legion Baseball World Series. Selah will have to beat the undefeated Toros twice on Sunday to claim the title.

Derek Buerkle

Derek Buerkle

Derek has worked in sports at KPAX-TV in Missoula since 2007. He grew up in Big Timber, Montana, and attended the University of Montana journalism program.
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