By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The boys of summer will be invading Havre for the next four days as the Comets and Northstars host the 2003 Havre Baseball Jamboree.
Ten teams including the Comets and Northstars will take to Legion Field for enough baseball to satisfy even the most diehard fans.
"It should be some really good baseball," said Comets coach Bob Evans. "We tried to match teams that we thought could be competitive and would have good games."
Don't mistake this weekend as tournament, it's not a tournament. In fact, it is what it's named, a jamboree. It allows teams from around the state to watch and play teams they would otherwise not play.
"We get a chance to see what the rest of the state is like," Evans said. "There is nothing worse than going to a tournament and playing a bunch of teams from your own conference."
This weekend will hardly be the case as only the Lethbridge Miners will be in town from the Northern District.
Evans and his Comets are coming off a sweep over the Great Falls Sparkies on Tuesday and will face Deer Lodge tonight at 6:30 p.m. Deer Lodge is a relative unknown to Evans.
"I don't know much about them," Evans said."We've never played them before and this is their first year up here. We just have to worry about ourselves."
Evans will start Ben Erickson on the mound tonight against Deer Lodge and is confident about this weekend.
"We're playing teams we should compete with," Evans said. "I'm just looking forward to getting my team some more games because we are still trying to find the right places for the right people."
For Mickey Williams and the Havre Northstars, the jamboree has a little different meaning. It allows the Northstars - perennial state tournament participants - a chance to see who their toughest competition will be come state tourney time.
"This tournament has been kind of a benchmark for us," Williams said. "We usually start to really get in baseball mode and get things going. Hopefully, it will be the same this year."
The Northstars, who by their standards have struggled a little lately ,certainly won't have many easy games this weekend.
Their game tonight might be their easiest as they take on the Glasgow Reds at 9 p.m. Glasgow qualified for last year's state tournament, however they were hit pretty hard by graduation and are rebuilding a little.
"We've proven there are no easy games for us," Williams said. "More than half the field of the jamboree qualified last year's state tournament so there is some good competition."
The Northstars were rained out on Tuesday in Fort MacLeod, and the cancellation threw a glitch into Williams' pitching rotation.
"It messed everything up in my rotation," Williams said. "I had it set up for certain pitchers to pitch in certain conference games down the road. But that might not happen."
Williams still isn't sure who he will start tonight, but he did narrow it down to Chazz Hurlburt and Steve Heberly.
The competition won't get any easier for the Northstars as they take on perennial powers, the Gallatin Valley Black Sox and the Bitterroot Red Sox, on Friday and Saturday nights.
Along with the Northstars, the Black Sox and the Red Sox have finished in the top three at the state tournament in the past five years.
Other tough teams include the Lewistown Redbirds, the Helena Reps and the Lethbridge Miners.
Lewistown features a bevy of older kids and should make the state tournament. Helena is a feeder team for the Class AA Helena Senators. However, the Helena program as a whole is very strong. Evans and the Comets lost to the Reps last weekend and he said they have well-disciplined, fundamentally sound team.
Lethbridge is fresh off a split with the Northstars on Monday. The Miners also feature several young players, but are usually right among the mix atop the Northern District standings.
Admission will be charged for the Havre Baseball Jamboree with all-session passes available. As always, the fine Legion Field concessions will be served with an added twist of breakfast being offered during the morning sessions.
"People who like baseball should definitely come watch," Evans said. "There is going to be some great games."HAVRE BASEBALL JAMBOREE
Thursday, June 12
1:30 p.m. - Deer Lodge vs. Glasgow
4 p.m. - Lewistown vs. Kootenai Valley
6:30 p.m. - Deer Lodge vs. Havre Comets
9 p.m. - Glasgow vs. Havre Northstars
Friday, June 13
8:30 a.m. - Kootenai Valley vs. Deer Lodge
11 a.m. - Helena vs. Lewistown
1:30 p.m. - Gallatin Valley vs. Kootenai Valley
4 p.m. - Lethbridge vs. Glasgow
6:30 p.m. - Lewistown vs. Havre Comets
9 p.m. - Bitterroot vs. Havre Northstars
Saturday, June 14
8:30 p.m. - Glasgow vs. Lewistown
11 a.m. - Lethbridge vs. Deer Lodge
1:30 p.m. - Bitterroot vs. Helena
4 p.m. - Kootenai Valley vs. Havre Comets
6:30 p.m. - Gallatin Valley vs. Bitterroot
9 p.m. - Gallatin Valley vs. Havre Northstars
Sunday, June 15
8:30 a.m. - Bitterroot vs. Lethbridge
11 a.m. - Lethbridge vs. Gallatin Valley
1:30 p.m. - Helena vs. Havre Comets
4 p.m. - Helena vs. Havre Northstars