Missed opportunities sink Redbirds in state tournament opener

By: 
Jared Miller
Special to the News-Argus

Nate Kindzerski prepares to pitch against Billings. Kindzerski saw his first action in over a month after being sidelined with a broken finger.  
Photo by Jared MIller

The Lewistown Redbirds were one of the hottest teams heading into the State A baseball tournament in Three Forks earlier this week. After compiling 58 total runs in four games while winning Districts, the Redbirds seemed poised to start the tourney with a bang. On top of that, their first game was against a team they had soundly defeated in the regular season back in May. It was the Billings Cardinals, though, that stopped Lewistown in their tracks.
Thursday’s game started with aggressive play from both teams. Billings began with two bunts and quickly moved a runner into scoring position. However, the Redbirds struck first when Hunter Schell batted in teammate Eric Knox to give Lewistown a 1-0 lead.
The Cardinals promptly responded with a run of their own in the second inning to tie the game. Then, in the third, they gained the lead when a Redbirds error allowed a run to score. 
The Redbirds did their best to answer Billings with batter after batter reaching base. However, Lewistown was haunted by the runners they left stranded. The team left the bases loaded in three innings without scoring.
Meanwhile the Cardinals were putting up runs with ease. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings Billings tallied eight total runs. Even with their missed chances, Lewistown was able to put up a couple runs of their own. Ben Kolar batted a run in during the fifth and Cody Henderson did so in the sixth.
Despite the Redbirds’ best efforts, though, Billings put up two more in the seventh and closed out the game with sealing the 13-4 victory. Fortunately for the ‘Birds, the loss did not completely dash their hopes of a state title but the nine-run loss was not the way they wanted to begin their tournament run.
 

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