George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
The Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team did everything they needed to do in order to qualify for the Class A state tournament in Libby. Everything that is, except find a way to beat the Great Falls Stallions. On Tuesday morning at Centene Stadium in Great Falls, the Stallions beat Havre for the second time in the Northern District tournament, eliminating Havre from the tourney and ending the Northstars’ season. It was the second straight year the Northstars fell one game short of making the state tournament. After suffering an opening-round loss to the Stallions on Saturday night, the Northstars fought valiantly, winning three straight elimination games in two days. But they just couldn’t figure out the Stallions, who took down Havre 6-3 on Tuesday. Havre’s offense had been dominant throughout the tournament, and over the three elimination games leading up to Tuesday’s showdown with Great Falls, the Northstars had banged out 48 hits and 31 runs. And although they collected 11 hits on Tuesday, they couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it most. Already up 2-1 in the fourth inning, the Stallions gave starter Brady Kangas some breathing room, when he drove in Dustin Schulz on a sacrifice fly and Aaron Stucker scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1. The Northstars didn’t go down without a fight, clawing back to 4-3 by the seventh inning. But Havre pitchers Austin Small and John Christian couldn’t hold Great Falls back enough in order to pull off the comeback, as the Stallions scored two more times in the final two innings, and Schultz and Jake Mansch finished Havre off from the mound. Kangas got the win for Great Falls and Mansch picked up a rare save. Small, who was starting for a somewhat worn-out Havre pitching staff, was saddled with the loss in the final game of the season. Havre had expended a lot of starting pitching just to get to Tuesday’s elimination game. At the plate, the Northstars got two hits each from Ryan Callahan, Sean Peterson, Logan Reichelt and Tanner Donovan. Callahan drove in Havre’s first run of the game on a double, and had a big tournament for the Northstars despite catching every inning of the week. Reichelt also had a monster tournament from the dish, batting .625 and going 7-for-24 with seven RBIs, sevens runs and a homerun. Great Falls’ Spencer Thomsen led the Stallions’ offense against Havre with a 3-for-4 performance. Alex Waltari and Schultz each had two hits as well. Later in the day, the Stallions lost to Vauxhall, 15-5 in the championship game. The Spurs captured the Northern District championship with a sparkling 31-4 record, and they didn’t lose a single conference game all year. Both Vauxhall and Great Falls will now move on to the state tournament later this week in Libby. Havre’s season ended with a 43-17 overall record.