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Sports news briefs

Brabant out as Scarlets' coach Jeff Brabant has been replaced as head coach of the Billings Scarlets American Legion baseball team.

Legion board chairman Jeff Ballard said that the board felt Brabant "wasn't the leader we needed to go forward so we made some changes."

Ballard said that Brabant was offered a job as pitching coach in the organization. As of Saturday, Ballard said he had not yet received an answer from Brabant.

Mike Lee and Corey Hanson are coaching the team this weekend and a decision will be made on coaching assignments next week.

"Early next week, we will fill these positions on an interim basis for the rest of the season," Ballard said. A search for a permanent head coach will begin at the end of the season.

After serving as an assistant to Paul Hatzell, Brabant took over last year after Hatzell resigned following the 2001 season. Brabant guided the Scarlets to a 41-20 record, which included a 2-2 mark in the 2002 state tournament. The Scarlets had played just one game under Brabant this year, losing 3-2 to Missoula on May 3 in the first game of a doubleheader.

The second game of the twin bill was rained out. Since then, the Scarlets have had two doubleheaders with Bozeman and another with Rapid City, S.D., rained out.

The Scarlets' first conference games are set for Wednesday at Laurel in a 5 p.m. doubleheader.

Scarlets take 2 from Missoula The Billings Scarlets swept a doubleheader from Missoula Saturday at Cobb Field, winning 10-2 and 12-1.

Joe Reidelbach went the complete game in the 12-1 victory, allowing only three hits and striking out five. He also walked five.

Billings' Kyle Pryor knocked in three runners in the 10-2 win.

The Scarlets host the Great Falls Stallions in a single game at 3 p.m. today

Royals drop 2 to G.F. Stallions The Great Falls Stallions swept an American Legion doubleheader from the Billings Royals with 10-5 and 9-6 victories Saturday.

Josh Talley drove in three runs and Tony Forrester knocked in two for the Stallions in the first game. Chris Schuman had three hits and an RBI for the Royals.

In the second game, the Stallions got three hits from Matt Schoonover and two from Ray Cook. Cook and Garrett Thompson each had two RBIs. Tyler Heine had two hits for the Royals.

The Royals host Missoula in a 10 a.m. doubleheader today at Cobb Field.

Golfers needed for scratch match Amateur golfers are still needed to fill out the bracket for the 8th annual Rex/Michelob Light Scratch Match scheduled for June 13-15 at The Briarwood.

Yellowstone County golfers with handicap indexes of five or less are eligible to compete, said tournament organizer Jeff Ballard. The entry fee is $125.

The scratch match will consist of 32 amateur players and eight club pros. All of the amateurs are guaranteed at least two rounds, along with a tee prize and pairings party.

Interested players can contact Ballard at 259-8790.

Beers receives all-DAC 10 honors MADISON, S.D. - Laura Beers of Dakota State University has been selected as a first-team all-DAC-10 second baseman.

Beers is a senior for the Madison, S.D., school, which compiled a 26-21 record this season. She is a former Billings West athlete.

Jones cancels visit to Eaglerock Former U.S. Open champion Steve Jones, who was scheduled to appear at Eaglerock Golf Course next Saturday, has canceled his visit for personal reasons.

Dani Bestrom, a spokesperson for the new Billings golf course, said Jones "is committed to come out and help us" at a later date. Jones, who won the 1996 U.S. Open and is still active on the PGA Tour, lives in Bozeman.

Eaglerock, which is located on Larimer Lane off Highway 312, officially opened its front nine for play last weekend. Work is still being completed on the back nine holes.

Bestrom said the clubhouse will be open in August.

For information, call Eaglerock at 655-4445.

MSU-Northern gets new AD HAVRE - Byron Ophus, a professor in Montana State-Northern's College of Technical Sciences, is the school's new athletic director, officials announced this week.

Ophus is to begin duties on June 15.

"I am very pleased that Byron has accepted the position of athletic director as he brings a wealth of administrative experience to the job," said Chancellor Alex Capdeville. "Byron is a good fit for Northern because he is well connected in the community and has a passion for athletics."

Before joining the Northern faculty, Ophus was in banking here for 17 years. He also served on the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce from 1992-95, including stints as president in 1994 and past president in 1995.

Ophus replaces Ted Spatkowski, who stepped down after 12 years on the job for personal reasons.

As athletic director, Ophus' responsibilities will include fundraising, overseeing the athletic department's budget, improving departmental communications, maintaining NAIA relations and standards, community development and overseeing scheduling of athletic events.

He will still teach part-time.

Kramer: Hill not likely to be back BOZEMAN - Montana State wide receiver Aaron Hill, who was suspended earlier for academic reasons, is not likely to suit up for the Bobcats this season, coach Mike Kramer says.

Kramer suspended Hill for the team's recent spring drills and said this week that he is preparing to play without him.

"It's highly unlikely he'll be in uniform unless things really go his way," Kramer said after reviewing Hill's academic record following the spring semester. "He's got some more work to do, more than I thought."

Citing privacy concerns, Kramer declined to discuss Hill's record in detail.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior caught 47 passes for 721 yards and nine touchdowns last year, his first season at MSU after transferring from Oregon State. He had academic issues at OSU before enrolling at Montana State.

Kramer said he won't know until the first day of fall practice on Aug. 3 whether Hill will be able to play. Hill can take a maximum of six credits per summer school session.

BYU men win MWC track title ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Five Mountain West Conference records fell as Brigham Young won the men's team title Saturday at the conference track and field championships.

Conference records were set in the men's 110- and 400-meter hurdles, the women's 400-meter run and men's javelin and hammer throw at the University of New Mexico oval. BYU scored 270 points to 230 for second-place finisher Colorado State while Air Force came in third with 129.

It was the fourth straight MWC men's championship for BYU, while San Diego State won its first women's track title since 1982.

MWC considering expansion LITTLETON, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference might expand if it meant getting a chance for an automatic bid in the Bowl Championship Series, the commissioner said.

The Big East Conference could lose its automatic bid if three of its members - Miami, Syracuse and Boston College - accept an invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Mountain West might try to get that automatic bid, Commissioner Craig Thompson said.

"Right, or wrong or indifferently, we kind of consider ourselves closer to a BCS profile than not," he said. "We would feel we could make a very strong case that we would be the next conference in line."

At least two MWC schools, Air Force and Colorado State, were ranked in the Top 25 last season.

Thompson said expansion isn't likely for the eight-team MWC unless it has access to a BCS bowl.

Officials of MWC schools plan to discuss expanding to nine or possibly 10 schools during a meeting next month in Carlsbad, Calif., Thompson said.

The other teams in the conference are Wyoming, Brigham Young, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State and Utah.

The BCS system uses criteria such as record and difficulty of opponents to try to match top-ranked teams in major postseason bowls, including the Rose, Fiesta and Orange.

Champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern earn automatic BCS spots.

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