FLORENCE – The State A American Legion Baseball championship wrapped up in Florence today with the host Bitterroot Bucs taking on the Vauxhall Spurs. In the end, the Spurs captured their first state title since 2008.
BITTERROOT 3, VAUXHALL 11
After a grueling semifinal against the Gallatin Valley Outlaws, the Bitterroot Bucs pitching staff was depleted as the rest of the team had 45 minutes to recover for the Championship game against Vauxhall.
Early and often the Spurs showed they were simply the more well-rested team. Pitcher Brady Howge was dominant on the mound pitching a complete game giving up two earned runs and striking out five.
On the offensive side, the Spurs were even better. In the first inning, the leadoff man Kole Fujita started it off with a double. He was driven in two batters later to take the early lead. Fujita ended the night with 3-5 with one RBI and two runs scored.
Vauxhall continued to find gaps in the fourth inning as the tournament MVP, John-Markus Vulcano ripped a three-run triple to right-center field clearing the bases and giving Vauxhall a comfortable 6-0 lead. Vulcano went 2-4 and accounted for five runs with four RBI and one run scored helping his tournament MVP case.
Bitterroot tacked on two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to avoid getting run-ruled, but it was too little, too late as Vauxhall captured the 2019 State A American Legion Baseball title.
BITTERROOT 15, GALLATIN VALLEY 14
Earlier in the day, the hosting Bitterroot Bucs won a wild back-and-forth showdown versus the Gallatin Valley Outlaws to earn a spot in the championship.
The Bucs built a 6-3 lead through four innings. Colby Kohlman hit a two-run home run to right field in the first inning. Blake Hinsdale added the sixth run with a fourth-inning single.
Gallatin Valley climbed back with a run in the fifth and then exploded for a huge rally in the top of the sixth. The Outlaws scored three runs on walks with the bases loaded, plus added another on a wild pitch to storm in front 10-6. Kyle Grevious put the finishing touches on the huge inning with a three-run, bases-clearing double past a diving left fielder. Gallatin Valley lead 13-6 after scoring nine runs in the inning.
But the Bucs didn’t wait long to start their own comeback. A couple of singles and four walks helped Bitterroot score three runs. Then Johnny Lineback lined a double down the left-field line, bringing in two more. Gallatin Valley still held a 13-11 lead after a sixth inning that saw 14 combined runs, and seven combined pitchers used.
Gallatin Valley added an insurance run in the top of the 7th. But Bitterroot just kept coming. Three singles and an error helped two runs cross the plate. Jake Scully came through with another single with one out, bringing in the tying run. With the game 14-14 with two outs, Zach Christopherson hit a slow-roller up the first baseline. The ball dribbled through the Gallatin Valley first baseman’s legs, allowing Kellen Bradt to score from second base with the winning run.