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The Billings Scarlets pulled off a season sweep of the Billings Royals at Cobb Field Monday, winning 11-6 in the last game of the regular season.

The defending state AA champion Scarlets won all eight times they faced their cross-town rivals this season and ran their overall record to 56-11. They will advance to the state tournament as the No. 1 seed out of the Eastern AA this Saturday at Cobb Field. The Royals did not qualify for state.

Scarlets left fielder Mike Wardell finished a perfect 3-for-3 on the day with three singles and an RBI. Wardell was also hit by a pitch and walked, reaching base all five times he was at-bat. Wardell was productive when he reached, scoring four times.

“They were just giving me good pitches,” said Wardell. “But sometimes they weren’t throwing strikes to me so I was getting on base any way I could, walks and beans.”

Last season, Wardell was a Billings Cardinal. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know about the Scarlets-Royals rivalry and take pride in the season sweep.

“There’s always been a rivalry between us and the Royals,” said Wardell. “It’s great for us to come out and sweep them all the way across.”

Unlike most of the Scarlets-Royals games this season and last, this one was close and for the most part well played by both teams.

The Royals scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 6-4 lead. With one out, Chris Anderson grounded out to plate Matt Deutscher to tie the score at 4-4. With runners on the corners, designated hitter Justin Ridgeway struck out, but the ball got by catcher Pernnell Booth and Ryne Mading raced home as Ridgeway was safe at first and the Royals were up 5-4. Blake Gjerde then collected his second RBI of the day when he drove in Randy Feragen to give the Royals a 6-4 lead.

The Scarlets answered the challenge in their half of the seventh, scoring three runs to take a 7-6 lead. The Scarlets were helped by two wild pitches in the inning, the second of which let Chris Stinson score to break a 6-6 tie. A costly error also hurt the Royals as Travis Tormaschy reached on an error by the third baseman, which would have been the third out. The error allowed Kendall Selle to score, which tied the game at 6-6.

“Sometimes a team doesn’t really get going until they get pressured a little bit,” said Scarlets coach Paul Hatzell. “At this level if you just continue to put pressure on the other team good things will happen.”

With two outs, the Scarlets scored four runs in the eighth inning and were helped out by two Royals’ errors. One of the errors occurred in the outfield as the fielder bobbled a single by Wardell that let an alert Gabe Lapito keep on running and score for a 8-6 lead. The shortstop also made an error as he mishandled a ball hit by Kyle Wilbert that let Wardell score to give the Scarlets a 9-6 lead.

Up until the bottom of the seventh, the Royals had not made and error and were definitely in the game.

“I thought we probably had our best mental game of the year,” said Royals coach Bob Emard. “We made very few mental mistakes. We had them on the run. I have no idea, but I’ve got to believe they were worried.”

BASEPATHS – Travis Sherman and Randy Feragen were the Scott Halverson Memorial Scholarship award winners … The Royals went back to their old red and blue uniforms from a couple of years ago for the game. Emard, who took over on July 9 when Rusty Strickland resigned, said his coaching staff wants to be back next year and wants the athletes on the Royals to know they are good athletes and capable of winning. “It’s the first time we broke them (the uniforms) out,” said Emard. “It comes down to changing attitudes. But we believe very much in the history of Post 4 and Billings Royals baseball and we will bring that back.”

Royals 100 011 300 – 6 7 3
Scarlets 102 100 34x – 11 8 3

David Hicks, Tim Perez (4) and Paul Reinholz; Justin Hunter, Casey Reichenberg (4), Kendall Selle (7) and Dan Woodward, Pernnell Booth (5), Josh Schoening (8).

Billings Royals (3-21, 20-50) – Bryce Doak 1-5, Ryne Mading 2-5, Chris Anderson 1-4, Randy Feragen 0-4, Justin Ridgeway 0-3, Blake Gjerde 2-4, Deon Roll 0-3, Paul Reinholz 0-4, Matt Deutscher 1-3. 2B – Mading. HR – Gjerde.

Billings Scarlets (56-11, 19-5) – Gabe Lapito 1-4, Mike Wardell 3-3, Kendall Selle 1-2, Chris Stinson 2-3, Travis Sherman 0-3, Kyle Wilbert 0-2, Travis Tormaschy 1-5, Trenton Bentz 0-2, Kory Johnson 0-2, Kyle Pryor 0-2, Dan Woodward 0-1, Pernnell Booth 0-1, Josh Schoening 0-1. 2B – Selle.

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