The rest of the Eastern AA is going to have to play catch-up with the Billings Scarlets.
The Scarlets ran their league record to 5-0 by routing the Billings Royals 16-5 Friday night and have a chance to pad that lead even more in a doubleheader against Butte today at 1 p.m. at Cobb Field.
But the Scarlets' front-loaded league schedule — no one else in the league has played more than three games — isn't the main focus for the team.
"We just want to play ball," said first baseman Joe Reidelbach.
The Scarlets played well enough to put the Royals in a big hole early (6-1 in the second inning) and finish the game after eight innings due to the 10-run rule.
That was a nice feeling because the Royals had done the same thing to the Scarlets last week, winning an 11-1 non-conference game.
"It was pretty nice to return the favor," center fielder Aaron Audet said. "We didn't show up to play last week."
This time it was the Royals, who were wondering what happened.
"We didn't pitch, we didn't field, we didn't hit and we didn't run the bases. What else is there?," said Royals coach Bob Emard.
The Scarlets collected 13 hits which were spread all throughout the lineup. Reidelbach and Audet each drove in three runs and Mitch Braun and Pernnell Booth drove in two apiece.
"We've been hitting a lot in practice," Audet said. "We've been working on getting better pitches to hit."
Casey Swain pitched a solid seven innings (3R, 2ER, 9H, 2K, 1BB, 1HBP), to get the victory. Rusty Gilmore finished it up, yielding one hit in the eighth.
The Royals' Tim Perez and reliever Ty Soberiaj didn't have the same success, both struggling with their control. Perez hit three batters and walked two. Soberiaj hit two and issued three walks.
Reidebach gave the Scarlets the lead with a run-scoring single in the first. He had another in the second when the Scarlets put together six hits and scored five times.
"This is much better," Reidelbach said. "We've got a good team. We were selective and hit the pitches we wanted."
Logan Jones had three hits and Brandon Hoskins knocked in two runs for the Royals, who were playing their first conference game.
"This is exactly how we started last year and then we went 21-2 (in the league)," Emard said. "I'm not saying that will happen, but this team will refocus and will be a different ball club tomorrow."
The Royals play host to Miles City in conference games at 7 p.m. tonight and a 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Scarlets 16, Royals 5
Scarlets 151 000 36 — 16 13 2
Royals 100 020 20 — 5 10 7
Casey Swain, Rusty Gilmore (8) and Anthony McCoy. Tim Perez, Ty Soberiaj (7) and Nolan LaGaly, Tyler Heine (8). W — Swain. L — Perez.
Scarlets — Kyle Pryor 2-3, Scott Reid 1-5, Mitch Braun 2-5, Pernnell Booth 1-3, Joe Reidelbach 2-5, Mitch Peterson 1-4, Aaron Audet 2-6, Anthony McCoy 1-5, Cole Pryor 1-4. RBI: Reidelbach 3, Audet 3, Booth 2, Braun 2, Peterson, C. Pryor.
Royals — Willie Crtalic 1-4, Chris Schuman 1-3, Ryne Mading 1-4, Brandon Hoskins 2-4, Chad Green 0-3, Cole Helmer 0-1, Tyler Heine 1-3, Zac Goes Ahead 0-3, Joe Kent 0-1, Shad Edwards 0-0, Nolan LaGaly 0-3, Ty Soberiaj 1-1, Logan Jones 3-4. 2B: Schuman. RBI: Hoskins 2, Helmer, Mading.