The Glasgow Reds entered the weekend tied for first place in the Northern Division, but they tumbled down to third place after a tough final day in Miles City.
The Reds shared an identical 6-2 record with the Miles City Mavericks entering a four-game home-and-away series with the Mavs this weekend.
On Friday, the teams met in Wolf Point for the Reds final home games of the season. The first game was all Glasgow, as the home team piled up a 6-0 lead through five innings. Pitcher Tom Leland was cruising, striking out seven batters in the first four innings, allowing only one hit in the span.
It wasn't until the sixth, when a tired Leland began to lose control of his pitches that the Mavericks were able to put some runs on the board. Miles City hit all nine batters in the sixth, but were only able to muster three runs in the inning.
Dylan Hughes came in to close the game for Glasgow, striking out the first two batters he faced and ending the game on a grounder. Four Reds had an RBI in the game, including Jeff Irving who went 4-for-4 with two doubles.
First-year pitcher Johnny Koessl started off the second game of the doubleheader, but lost his control early, walking five batters in 1 1/3 innings and allowing five runs. TJ Synan came to the mound in relief and closed out the inning, but he too was pulled after allowing three runs in the third inning.
All the while, the Reds weren't able to muster much run support early in the game. The team scored twice in the second inning, but found itself down 10-2 entering the fifth.
By that time, Walt Dalbey had his pitches working, and was fooling batters with a nasty curveball.
In the fifth, Hughes hit a home run that started momentum rolling for Glasgow. After a short rain delay before the sixth inning, Glasgow settled into a groove and began getting hits. The Reds scored five runs in the inning, batting around to narrow the score to 10-9.
After Miles City put an insurance run on the board in the top of the seventh, Glasgow nearly pulled off the comeback in the bottom of the frame, but fell short, scoring just one run and losing 11-10.
Still tied for first entering Saturday, things fell apart for the Reds at the doubleheader in Miles City.
In a tremendous pitching duel in the opener, Glasgow's Jeff Irving and Miles City's Cameron Brown held both teams nearly spotless.
Irving allowed just one hit and had seven strikeouts in six innings. He allowed just one run in the game, a consequence of one of his three walks in the third inning.
Brown wasn't quite as flawless in the hit column, but was able to close out innings, leaving seven Reds stranded in a seven-inning shutout. Brown allowed just three hits in the game and had three strikeouts to just one walk.
In the final game, the Mavericks took over. Miles City scored six runs in the first inning and Glasgow was unable to respond. The Mavericks scored four more runs in the third inning, and leading 11-3 in the bottom of the sixth, finished the game with an exclamation point, as Trey Shipman hit a grand slam that enforced the 10-run rule, winning the game for Miles City, 15-3.
The series left the Mavericks in sole possession of first place with a record of 9-3 in conference, two games ahead of both Glendive and Glasgow, who each finished 7-5. Glasgow lost a tiebreaker to the Blue Devils, leaving them in third place in the conference as the Eastern District meets in the playoffs this weekend.
Earlier in the week, the Reds went to Lewistown for four games against Legion A teams from around the region. Glasgow beat the Great Falls Sparkies in five innings, 17-3, and led the Lewistown Redbirds 7-0 in the third inning before the game was called because of rain. On Wednesday, the Reds lost to Lewistown, 6-5, when the Redbirds were able to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh to complete a comeback. Similarly to Tuesday night, the Reds led Tri-County in their nightcap, but the game was rained out in the top of the fifth inning.
The Reds will be headed to Laurel this weekend for the Eastern District tournament, where they will open against the Billings Cardinals. Earlier this season, the two teams tied at the Lewistown tournament, finishing the game 6-6 in six innings, ending the game on time restrictions. The Laurel Dodgers, who currently lead the southern division, are the two-time defending state champions.