Bozeman Bucks defeat the Billings Royals to win State AA Legion title

Zander Petrich (9), shown here against the Billings Royals on July 31, and the Bozeman Bucks lost to Idaho Falls on Saturday but will play in Sunday's American Legion Northwest Region Baseball title game.

LEWISTON, Idaho — The Bozeman Bucks suffered their first loss in nine postseason games, falling 6-3 to Idaho Falls on Saturday at the American Legion Northwest Region Baseball Tournament.

With a 6-3 loss to Medford, Oregon, on Thursday, Idaho Falls needed to win Saturday’s game to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. Bozeman secured a spot in Sunday’s title game with a 4-1 win over Medford on Friday. A win Saturday would have given the Bucks two chances to win the title on Sunday.

The team from eastern Idaho scored one run in the top of the first inning and never trailed. Bozeman tied it up at 1-1 in the third, but Idaho Falls pulled away with one run in both the fourth and fifth and two in the sixth, and it responded to two Bucks runs in the bottom of the sixth with one in the seventh.

Parker McMan started on the mound for Bozeman and allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

At the plate for the Bucks, designated hitter Zander Petrich went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, and center fielder Kelher Murfitt was 2 for 3.

Idaho Falls second baseman Bruer Webster went 3 for 4, and center fielder Andrew Gregersen finished 1 for 3 with a solo home run and a walk. Jace Hanson pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Idaho Falls and Kennewick, Washington will meet Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time in another loser-out game. Kennewick eliminated Medford, Oregon, 1-0 in Saturday's other game. The Idaho Falls-Kennewick winner will face the Bucks at 5:30 p.m. for the championship and a spot in next week’s American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina.

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