MISSOULA — The Missoula Mavericks were guaranteed a spot in the American Legion Northwest Regional since they’re the host team, but they wanted to earn their way into the tournament.
The Mavs got the No. 5 seed in the state tournament, went 1-2 and were eliminated on a walk-off squeeze bunt as they failed to repeat as champions. Now they have to turn their focus toward competing again after they’ve already seen their season end once.
The Mavs open the regional against Cheyenne Post 6, the Wyoming state champion, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ogren-Allegiance Park. The eight-team tournament also features state champions from Montana, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho.
After five days of competition, the winner will advance to the American Legion World Series Aug. 16-21 in Shelby, North Carolina. The last team from Montana to make the World Series was the 1962 Billings Royals managed by Ed Bayne. Missoula lost in last year’s title game on a walk-off hit.
The Billings Royals will represent Montana following a state tournament in which they came up with late rallies and clutch hits. They’re making their first regional appearance since winning back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013.
The Royals boast a lineup that includes 10 seniors and eight future college athletes, including state tournament MVP Brooks Zimmer. They open against Waipahu Post 35, the Hawaii state champion, 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The Medford Mustangs are representing Oregon in a controversy-filled decision. They lost in the state title game, but it was later ruled that the champion Mid-Valley Southpaws used an ineligible player in the tournament.
The Mustangs are making their fifth consecutive regional appearance and are trying to win their first regional title since 2015. They’ll face the Yakima Valley Pepsi Pak, who have won 18 of their past 19 games to claim their second straight Washington state title. Medford and Yakima Valley open the tournament 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The Juneau Midnight Suns are back at regionals after becoming the first Alaska team to repeat as state champions since 2011. They pitched 26 consecutive scoreless innings to end the state tournament.
Juneau will face the Mountain View Toros, who won the program’s first-ever Idaho state championship. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Game 1: Medford, Oregon vs. Yakima Valley, Washington, 10 a.m.
Game 2: Juneau, Alaska vs. Meridian, Idaho, 1 p.m.
Game 3: Waipahu, Hawaii vs. Billings Royals, 4 p.m.
Game 4: Cheyenne, Wyoming vs. Missoula Mavericks, 7 p.m.
Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 10 a.m., loser out
Game 6: Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m., loser out
Game 7: Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 4 p.m.
Game 8: Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 1 p.m., loser out
Game 10: Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 4 p.m., loser out
Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 7 p.m.,
Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 11 loser, 4 p.m.
Game 13: Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner, 7 p.m.
Note: Game 12 and Game 13 will not match previous opponents unless necessary
Game 14: Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 1 p.m., championship
Game 15: If necessary, 4 p.m.