Aug 5, 2012 9:28 PM by Casey Conlon - Q2 Sports
WHITEFISH - The Billings Royals are back on top.
After watching the Scarlets win four titles in the last six years, the Royals beat their Magic City rivals in the State AA Legion Championship Sunday night, 10-5, claiming their first crown since 2005.
The Royals jumped on the Scarlets early, scoring eight runs in the first three innings to take an 8-3 lead. Chance Ackerman had back-to-back two-run doubles in the first and second innings, and Luke Reinschmidt was 3-5 with three RBI.
The Scarlets closed the gap to 8-5 after the 6th. Winston Cox was key for them at the plate, going 3-5 with a double and two runs scored. Ian Byorth and gage Hinsz each had two RBI.
But the Royals quickly regained a 5-run lead in the bottom of the 7th when Joe Zimmer singled with two in scoring position. Zimmer was 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored in the game.
Rico Rodriguez pitched seven strong innings for the Royals to get the win, giving up only two earned runs. Ackerman pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th to end it. Myles Berkram took the loss for the Scarlets.
Both teams will advance to the Northwest Regional Tournament this week at Dehler Park. The Royals advance as the Montana state champion, while the Scarlets get an automatic berth as tournament host.
This is the Royals 5th State legion title overall. The Scarlets lead everyone since Billings split into two teams in the mid-1970's, with 12 total.