By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The young boys of summer will be invading Havre for the next four days. Roughly 180 boys of summer that is, as Legion Field will host the State 13-year-old Babe Ruth baseball tournament starting today at noon.
There will be no shortage of base hits, baserunners and baseball games. The tournament will feature 27 games over four days with 10 teams vying for the coveted state title.
One of the favorites to take home some championship hardware is the Havre 13-year-old all-star squad coached by Bruce Normandy, Lyle Miller and Jon Holden.
The Havre All-Stars hope to use a little home field advantage, solid defense and pitching and timely hitting to reach Sunday's championship round.
"If we play defense like we've done in the past and our pitchers throw strikes, we should be fine," Normandy said. "To be honest, I'd be pretty disappointed if we weren't playing for at least third place in the tournament."
For Havre to be playing for one of those top three spots, it's offense must be consistent all weekend.
"We don't necessarily score a lot of runs," Normandy said. "We try and steal a lot of bases to get runners into scoring position and then get some big hits. But as long as our defense and pitching stay solid, the hitting will be there."
Normandy's optimism isn't without reason. Havre has faced several of the teams competing in the tournament and had some success.
The All-Stars swept the Hi-Line All-Stars out of Glasgow in a doubleheader and defeated Kalispell in a Fourth of July tournament in Columbia Falls. Havre also dropped a pair of games to Mission Valley at the same tournament, but Normandy feels his team can play with them.
"I feel confident that we can play with any team here," he said. "I've heard that Bozeman and the Bitterroot North team are also pretty good. Every team in the tournament is capable of winning games."
The tournament runs on a different format than most state tournaments. Instead of a straight double elimination, this tournament will feature three days of pool play with the teams being seeded for a single elimination tournament on Sunday according to their record in pool play.
Consequently, each team will play four games before the single elimination play begins on Sunday.
For Havre, the biggest game of the tournament will be the opener tonight at 8 p.m. against Miles City.
"It's important that we get that first win and get some momentum," Normandy said.
Normandy will go with Jack Teske on the mound in the first game with Paul Jensen most likely starting on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against Bitterroot North.
"I think that's our best all-around lineup is when Paul is pitching which moves Jack to centerfield and we have Shane Kemmer catching," Normandy said.
The All-Stars roster also includes Adam and Beau Briese, Dylan Patterson, Nolan Holden, Jake Lilletvedt, Kyle Miller, Brett Normandy, Greg Qualls and Cameron Schilling.
Havre will round out pool play with a game at 6 p.m. on Friday against Bozeman and another on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. against Glacier.
With all of the excitement of playing at home, Normandy knows his kids are anxious to take the field. However, he is less concerned about nerves and butterflies and more concerned with summer exhaustion.
"We've really been on the kids about taking it easy during the day," he said. "We don't play till late every night which gives them the whole day to run around in the sun and wear themselves out. With as hot as its been, they really have to conserve their energy during the day."
But some of the players' burned-up energy should be replaced with the adrenaline rush of playing on their home field in front family and friends.
"The kids are so excited to be playing at home," Normandy said. "I really hope that we can get as many people as we can from Havre to come up and support these kids. Mickey (Williams) has got the field is in fantastic shape. We have good group of kids that work really hard and there should be some exciting baseball."
Admission prices for the tournament will be $25 for a family pass, $15 for an adult individual pass, $5 for an adult daily pass and $3 for a student/senior daily pass.
State 13-year-old baseball tournament
Noon - Miles City vs. Glacier
2 p.m. Northern vs. Kalispell
4 p.m. - Hi-Line vs. Mission Valley
6 p.m. - Bitterroot North vs. Bozeman
8 p.m. - Havre vs. Miles City
8 a.m. - Butte vs. Northern
10 a.m. - Bitterroot North vs. Glacier
Noon - Hi-Line vs. Kalispell
2 p.m. - Miles City vs. Bozeman
4 p.m. - Mission Valley vs. Butte
6 p.m. - Opening Ceremony
7 p.m. - Havre vs. Bitterroot North
8 a.m. - Havre vs. Bitterroot North
10 a.m. - Kalispell vs. Mission Valley
Noon - Butte vs. Hi-Line
2 p.m. - Bitterroot North vs. Miles City
4 p.m. - Northern vs. Mission Valley
6 p.m. - Havre vs. Bozeman
8 p.m. -Bubble gum blowing contest
8 p.m. - Home run derby
8 a.m. - Butte vs. Kalispell
10 a.m. - Havre vs. Glacier
Noon - Northern vs. Hi-Line
2 p.m. - Placement game
4 p.m. - placement game
6 p.m. - placement game
8 p.m. - placement game
10 a.m. - Semifinal
2 p.m. - Championship game