Rain relents, Cubbies back in action

Cubbies beat Bozeman, split with Helena, swept by Bandits
Umpire Andrew Zitzer looks for contact with home plate by the sliding Belgrade base runner during American Legion baseball action Sunday at Vigilante Park. Dillon catcher R.J. Fitzgerald loses the handle on the ball in the collision


The Dillon Cubs found themselves as busy as the Chicago Cubs last week, playing five games in six days. And while they dropped all but two of those games, their hitting continues to improve and young players continue to emerge.

The Cubbies started their busy run with an 8-6 win in a make-up game under the lights in Bozeman against the Spikes on Wednesday.

The Cubs pounded out a dozen hits in the nine-inning game. Dillon’s M.J. Simkins enjoyed a standout night, going 4 for 4 at the plate and also taking a walk, while teammate Cory Renfree found a way to reach base in four of five plate appearances. 

On Friday, the team travelled to Helena, where it split a doubleheader against the Reps.

Simkins was on the mound for the opener. After giving up two runs to the first two batters, he found his zone and held the Reps scoreless the rest of the game, while the Cubs made the most of their opportunities, producing a trio of runs from their half dozen hits to grab a 3-2 win.

In the second game, Helena jumped out to an even faster start, with its first four batters who came to the plate coming around to cross the plate in the first inning.

Dillon’s usually strong defense steadied itself after that and only allowed two more runs the rest of the way. But the Cubs offense struggled, only producing five hits and a pair of runs in the 6-2 loss.

Dillon was back home at Vigilante Field on Sunday to play in front of not only the normal hometown crowd, but out-of-towners of all ages in Dillon for the Little League Tournament. Spectators lined the fences to watch the newly uniformed Cubs take on small-ball specialists the Belgrade Bandits in one of the more curious games they are ever likely to witness. 

Mixing up his stuff and coming right at the visiting hitters, Cubs ace Cole Miotke was nearly unhittable, just not un-buntable, as the Bandits stole the game, 9-3, in large part by putting 9 runners on base with bunts and 5 runners across the plate with suicide squeezes.

"Belgrade is really well coached and they do the little things right to put runners in scoring position,” said Cubs Head Coach Aaron Orme. 

"It seemed like if we were back, they would lay down a well-placed bunt; if I had the infield up they would hit a blooper that fell right behind us."

On offense, Dillon hit the ball hard, but too often right at a Belgrade player. 

Cory Renfree came on in relief for the Cubs and did a great job of locating all but one of his pitches. If it hadn't been for a home run Renfree yielded late in the game, it may have represented his best performance of the year. 

The Cubs suffered another tough loss in the second game, falling 5-4 to the visitors.

Things looked good early for the Cubbies, who saw Eathyn Peterson and Miotke pull off a nice hit and run. Dillon’s R.J. Fitzgerald got a hit to load the bases and Logan Wilson (who later turned an unassisted double play) blasted a deep double off a fastball to score two runs. 

Nicky Olsen started the game on the bump for Dillon and pitched a heck of a game for his team, yielding just three runs before being relieved in the top of the sixth by Fitzgerald, who will be just a freshman in high school next school year.

Called upon with the score tied, 3-3, Fitzgerald would only give up one run in the sixth, and the Cubs would score it right back, as Nate Simkins raced home on a passed ball in the inning’s bottom half to make it 4-4 going into the seventh and final inning.

In the top of the seventh, the Bandits hit back-to-back doubles to score the go-ahead run. Fitzgerald did a solid job of handling the pressure and pitched his team out of the jam. 

Coming to the plate for their final at bat, the Cubs saw Olsen reach base, but not home plate, as they fell by a run in the final game of a busy week.

The Cubs will travel to GVO on Wednesday, and then will head to Missoula on Thursday for the Missoula Pioneer Tournament. The following week, Dillon returns home to host the annual Maybelle Arthur Tournament, which starts June 13.