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Aug 18, 2011 5:49 PM by Scott Breen/Casey Conlon

Billings All-Stars win Little League World Series opener

The Billings Big Sky All-Stars have won their opening game of the Little League World Series, with a final score of 6-4 over Rapid City.

Big Sky exploded for five runs in the top of the 4th inning after trailing 2-0 early. Sean Jones relieved Cole McKenzie on the mound to start the 6th and earned the save. McKenzie is the winning pitcher.

Rapid City starter Brett Beyer walked the first four batters of the 4th to help Billings load the bases with nobody out and tie it 2-2. Conner Kieckbusch later connected for the lead on a blooper behind second base that was dropped by the shortstop with two outs. That scored two runs to make it 4-2 Billings. Cole McKenzie followed up with a slap double to left-centerfield scoring two more. That chased Beyer from the game trailing 6-2.

Earlier, Brock MacDonald came home on Beyer's wild pitch in the top of the 3rd inning to make it 2-1 Rapid City. Big Sky left the bases loaded to end the 3rd.

Big Sky trailed 2-0 after gaving up a run in the bottom of the first inning and a solo home run to start the second. Nerves played an early role offensively for Billings' as their first six batters of the game were retired.

Rapid City managed to put its opening two batters on base with a pair of singles. But Billings second baseman Connor Kieckbusch made a diving catch to turn a double-play helping keep Rapid City at bay in the 1st. Kieckbusch made another diving catch, and threw the batter out at first to end the 2nd, while McKenzie surrendered only one walk in five innings of work.

Eric Petry has homered twice for Rapid City with solo shots in the 2nd and 4th innings. Hayden McGriff hit a solo home run in the 5th cutting the deficit to 6-4 with one inning to play.

Big Sky keeps a pair of small bears on top of its dugout water cooler as good luck. Manager Gene Carlson first brought them to the field for good luck in district play.

Billings is guaranteed three games and will play again on Sunday on ESPN at 12:00 p.m. MDT against either Georgia or Louisiana.

Billings Little League Players

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