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Ashland Pilots fall but will play today for title

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Ashland's rendezvous with the hottest team in the American Legion A Northwest Regional Tournament didn't go well Monday at Heroes Field.

Regardless, the Pilots will play for the tournament championship today.

The Laurel Dodgers of Montana, who had 38 hits in their previous two games, got going early and overpowered the Pilots, 21-9, in seven innings. It was Ashland's first loss in the double-elimination format.

The Pilots (34-13) entered 3-0, assuring themselves of a title appearance. The Dodgers and the Powell Pioneers (Wyo.) each have one loss and will play a semifinal game at 11 a.m. PDT. The winner then faces the Pilots.

Against Ashland, the Dodgers notched six runs in the second inning. The Pilots answered with consecutive run-scoring hits by Brent Hegdahl, Ethan Schlecht and Brady Thomas in the bottom of the third to trim the lead to 6-5.

That was as close as Ashland got as the Dodgers finished with 19 hits and took the game in seven innings on the 10-run mercy rule.

Thomas went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a run, and Schlecht and Hegdahl each went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Hegdahl scored three times and Schlecht twice.

Laurel Dodgers 060 324 6 — 21 19 3

Ashland Pilots 014 013 0 — 9 11 5

Dooper and Faust; Flynn, Crowley (6) and Westhelle-Grant, Adams Jr. W — Dooper. L — Flynn. 2B — L: Swecker, Faust; A: Schlecht, Hegdahl.