Blue Devils go 5-1 in final games of regular season

By 
Jason Stuart
Thursday, July 30, 2020

Following six straight losses, the Glendive Blue Devils got back on the positive side of the ledger, finishing their regular season with a flourish by winning five of their final six games.

The Blue Devils closed out their regular season by sweeping the Glasgow Reds in a home series on Friday, splitting with the Billings Cardinals in a home series Saturday, and then sweeping the Wolf Point Yellowjackets on the road Sunday

With that, the Blue Devils closed out their 2020 regular season with a winning 23-19 record, though they dominated the North Conference of the East A District with an 11-1 record. Next up is the District Tournament, set to begin this Thursday, July 30, in Billings. The Blue Devils will be taking on the Laurel Dodgers to open the tournament.

Blue Devils 12, Wolf Point 1

Glendive starting pitcher Jacoby Mattern hurled a nohitter in five innings of work as the Blue Devils squashed the Yellowjackets in game two of Sunday’s road series.

The Blue Devils quickly staked themselves to a two-run lead in the first inning. Trenton Reinhart hit a RBI single to left to bring in Austin Berry, who had walked and then stole second and third base. Rhett Hoffer, who had also walked, subsequently scored on a steal of home plate to give his team a fast 2-0 lead. Axton Franks hit a RBI single in the top of the second to move the score to 3-0.

Things started to completely unravel for the host Yellowjackets in the top of the third inning as errors and passed balls — two things the Blue Devils have struggled themselves with at times this season — caught up to them, helping three more Glendive runs come in and giving the visitors a 6-0 lead.

The Blue Devils scored five more runs in the top of the fifth to extend their lead out beyond 10 runs and invoke the mercy rule, as Wolf Point, who committed seven errors in the game, continued to shoot themselves in the foot.

Mattern, meanwhile, was money on the mound for Glendive, shaking off a rough outing in his last start to mow down the Yellowjackets one after another and notching the no-hitter in the process. Wolf Point’s sole run came on the one wild pitch Mattern threw in the game, and that runner had reached base due to a Blue Devils’ error, so the run was unearned. His final line was no hits and no earned runs over five innings with four strikeouts, two walks and one wild pitch.

At the plate, the Blue Devils didn’t have to work too hard given all of Wolf Point’s defensive miscues. Orion LaPierre was the only Glendive player with more than one hit, going 2-3 at the plate. Hoffer led his team with 2 RBIs and Franks, Reinhart, Dillon Cullinan and Derek Reynolds each contributed a RBI

Blue Devils 13, Wolf Point 5

A late-inning surge carried the Blue Devils to victory in game one of Sunday’s final regular season series.

Glendive got on the board first with a run in the first inning, but Wolf Point bounced back to take the lead with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first. The Blue Devils scored another run in the top of the third, but Wolf Point answered again with a run in the bottom of the inning and held a 3-2 lead after the third inning.

A RBI single by Hoffer scored the first of three Glendive runs in the top of the fourth. Another run scored off an error by the Wolf Point right fielder and a steal of home by Reinhart put the Blue Devils back on top at 5-3. The Yellowjackets again answered in the bottom of the fourth with two runs of their own to tie the game at 5-5.

But the Blue Devils would score eight unanswered runs after that to pull away for the win. Glendive scored three runs in the top of the fifth and then five runs in the top of the sixth to put an end to the Yellowjackets’ chances.

Hoffer led his team at the plate as the only player with more than one hit, going 2-3 with 2 RBIs. Berry, Riley Basta and Jacob Burman each helped their team with a RBI.

Kobe Kutzler got the start on the mound for the Blue Devils and though not particularly sharp, kept his team in it. He was charged with three earned runs on two hits with four strikeouts and five walks issued. Casey Rounseville closed out the game and was very good in relief, surrendering no earned runs and giving up just one hit with two strikeouts and one walk issued, though he did plunk three batters.

Blue Devils 12, Billings 11

The Blue Devils pulled ahead late and then held off a Cardinals rally to win a wild game two of Saturday’s home series.

It was a see-saw battle for much of the game. The Cardinals struck first, scoring four runs in the first inning, all coming with two outs and capped by a 2 RBI double. Glendive got a run back in the bottom of the first when Hoffer hit a twoout RBI single to bring in Matt Dufner, who had reached base on a dropped third strike.

Billings extended their lead back out by a run when a wild pitch with two outs allowed a man to score from third. But the Blue Devils took the lead for themselves with a five-run outburst in the bottom of the inning.

Berry led off and was able to motor to second due to an error by the Cardinals’ third basemen, and then scoot to third on an error by the Billings pitcher. Rounseville then got plunked, and as he stole second, Berry stole home for the first Glendive run of the inning. Dufner then singled to left to bring Rounseville around to score. After Hoffer reached first from being hit by another errant pitch, Mattern doubled to right to bring home Dufner and send Hoffer to third. Basta then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance both runners, plating Hoffer and tying the game. Reinhart then slapped a twoout single into right to bring in Mattern and put the Blue Devils up 6-5.

The Cardinals seized the lead right back in the top of the fourth with three more runs, all three scoring due to a pair of back-to-back, two-out errors made by the Glendive infield. The Blue Devils cut the Billings lead back down to one run when Berry, who singled to lead off, scored thanks to another error made by the Billings third baseman.

The Blue Devils finally pulled ahead for good with another five runs scored in the bottom of the fifth. Mattern led off by reaching base off another Cardinals error and then Reinhart smacked a oneout double to center, plating Mattern and tying the game back up. Cullinan then singled to drive home Reinhart and give his team back the lead. Parker Buckley later singled to drive home Cullinan and Dufner closed things out by slapping a 2 RBI single to right to give the Blue Devils a 12-8 lead.

The Cardinals cut the lead down to three runs with a run scored in the top of the sixth, and then almost pulled off a last-minute, two-out rally. A pair of singles and a double with two outs in the top of the seventh cut the Glendive to one with the tying run standing at third base. But Berry successfully squeezed a fly ball in right field to end the Billings threat and the game.

Dufner, Reinhart and Berry all did great work at the plate for their team. Dufner went 2-4 with 3 RBIs. Reinhart went 3-4 with a RBI and Berry went 2-2 and scored three of his team’s runs. Basta, Buckley, Cullinan, Mattern and Rounseville each had a RBI.

Avery Holley got the start on the mound for the Blue Devils but wasn’t particularly sharp. He went four innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts, seven walks issued and two wild pitches. Buckley came on in relief and pitched three innings to take the win, giving up two earned runs on six hits with one strikeout and two walks.

Both teams struggled defensively, with the Cardinals committing five errors to Glendive’s four.

Billings 10, Blue Devils 3

The Cardinals jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back in game one of Saturday’s series.

Billings scored five runs in the top of the first to seize control of the game from the getgo. Four of those runs came with two outs, and three of them were the result of errors, as the Blue Devils’ season-long defensive struggles once again raised their ugly head. The team committed five total errors in the game, three of them in the first inning with an ignominious back-to-back-to-back error streak.

The Blue Devils tried to make a game of it in the bottom of the fourth, with Hoffer and Rounseville notching RBI singles to cut the Billings lead to 5-2, but they would get no closer. The Cardinals scored three more in the top of the fifth, all with two outs and once again helped along by two Glendive errors, then added two more runs in the sixth to put the game well out of reach.

The Blue Devils only mustered five hits in the game, three of them by Hoffer, who went 3-3 with 2 RBIs.

Vinny Torres got the start on the mound and took the loss, though he threw a decent game but was largely let down by his defense. He lasted five innings, giving up one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts, three walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter. Tristen Jarvis pitched two innings of relief, giving up two earned runs on two hits with two walks issued.

Blue Devils 8. Glasgow 1

Glendive starting pitcher Hoffer threw a masterful game, giving up just one hit in six innings as the Blue Devils quickly and efficiently put the visiting Reds away in game two of Friday’s series.

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the first inning. Dufner hit a RBI double to get things going and then scored himself on a subsequent Reds error. Reinhart picked up a RBI single to close out the inning.

Glendive scored four more in the bottom of the fourth to give themselves more cushion. Rounseville scored off an error, Berry hit a 2 RBI single to left and Reinhart closed out the inning with his second RBI single.

The extra run support was nice, but Hoffer didn’t really need it as he dominated the Reds from the mound. In his six innings of work he allowed one hit while fanning eight batters and walking just one. Dufner pitched the seventh inning with a strong relief effort, allowing no hits while striking out three with no walks. The Reds’ lone run came due to a seventh inning error, of which the Blue Devils committed three in the game.

The Blue Devils pounded out 11 hits in the game, led by Dufner, who went 3-4 with a RBI, and Rounseville, who went 3-3 with a walk drawn. Berry and Reinhart led their team in RBIs, with both going 2-3 with 2 RBIs.

Blue Devils 12, Glasgow 3

It took them a while to get going, but a fourth inning outburst and a deluge of Reds errors led to the Blue Devils stomping the visitors in game one of Friday’s series.

The Reds drew first blood with a run in the top of the first coming via a steal of home plate. Glendive tied it up in the bottom of the second when Mattern scored off one of Glasgow’s many errors. The Reds went back out on top with a run scored on a RBI single in the top of the third.

Then the Blue Devils blew the doors off the game with eight runs in the bottom of the fourth. Three straight singles opened the inning to load the bases, then Buckley blasted a double to deep center to score two runs. Another Reds error allowed another runner to score and then a single to left by Mattern brought Buckley around to score. Then three consecutive errors by the Reds brought four more Blue Devils in before the inning was out.

Glendive added three more in the bottom of the fifth for good measure. Dufner doubled with Torres on first to put runners in scoring position, and then Hoffer doubled to deep right to clean things up with 2 RBIs. He later scored from third on a ground ball out off the bat of Rounseville.

Hoffer led his team with 3 RBIs, going 1-4 at the plate. Buckley and Rounseville each picked up 2 RBIs off one hit. Mattern went 2-4 with a RBI and Franks picked up a RBI on one hit.

Reinhart got the start on the mound and took the win with a very good pitching performance. He went six innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits with nine strikeouts, three walks and two batters plunked. Basta pitched one inning of scoreless, hitless relief with one walk and one hit batter.

Reach Jason Stuart at dcedc@midrivers.com.

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