BILLINGS — It was a night Reagan Walker and his Billings Royals teammates will never forget.
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound left-hander pitched all five innings and gave up only two hits as the Royals topped their crosstown rival Billings Scarlets 11-1 in five innings Friday night at Pirtz Field. The game featured two lightning delays totaling 71 minutes in the bottom of the second inning.
Owen Doucette finished the game with a two-run walk-off single that triggered the mercy rule and scored Kruz Slevira and Davis Mosier in the bottom of the fifth.
The Class AA American Legion game was nonconference for both the Scarlets (4-5) and Royals (13-6). Each team will have their conference opener on Saturday against Great Falls.
“The rain delays are a little hard,” said Walker, the grandson of the late legendary Absarokee basketball and football coach Al Walker and the son of Mike Walker, the former commissioner of the Frontier Conference. “You have to stay focused and warm up good. That’s all you can do.
“It was kind of hard getting my arm loose and resting and loose and resting, but at the end of the day I got it done and it wasn’t that bad.”
For Walker, a first-year Royal, it was the first Scarlets-Royals game he has played in. And although the lightning delays, and rain and wind, caused the crowd to thin, it is a moment he’ll cherish forever. Walker allowed one earned run, walked three and fanned three.
“The lightning was a little unfortunate, but it was a great night,” he said. “I loved it.”
For the Royals, Doucette finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Slevira was 1 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs and Mosier was 2 for 3, including a double, with two runs and two RBIs. Leadoff batter Jaeden Jordahl was 1 for 1, walked twice and was hit by a pitch, had five stolen bases, and scored three times.
Overall, the Royals were aggressive on the basepaths and swiped 10 bases, with Austin Schaaf totaling three steals.
The Royals also turned a double play to end the third and second baseman Jessen West made a nice sliding catch in right for the Royals in the fourth.
Walker said he was inspired to pitch well for the Royals as the Scarlets won the first rivalry game 8-3 a week ago at Pirtz.
“I was thinking about it all day and all week since I found out I was going to start,” he said. “My team played well behind me, with double plays and every single catch. It was great.”
For the game, neither team committed an error. The Royals totaled eight hits and the Scarlets two.
The Scarlets scored their lone run in the fifth. Max Murphy, who was hit by a pitch, was plated by Kyler Northrop, who hit a standup triple to right-center to bring the Scarlets within 8-1.
Northrop, the Scarlets’ shortstop, was 2 for 2.
Both teams have a busy Saturday at Pirtz. The Royals will host Great Falls at noon, the Scarlets and Great Falls game will follow, and the next contest will be the Scarlets vs. Casper, Wyoming. The Royals will meet Casper to end the day.
The Scarlets and Royals will then clash in another contest on Monday at Pirtz at 7 p.m. That game will be a conference affair.