Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
When it comes to American Legion baseball tournaments in the state of Montana, it don’t get a whole lot better than the Gallatin Valley Invitational. The Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team played in the Gallatin Valley tournament this past weekend in Bozeman, and despite going head-to-head with some very stiff competition, the Northstars walked away with four wins in five games. The Northstars opened the tournament on Friday afternoon with a 20-7 romp over conference foe Lewistown. Havre jumped on the Redbirds in the very first inning grabbing a 3-0 lead when Tanner Donovan roped a two-run single to left field, scoring Jeremiah Moog and Ryan Callahan. That was just the beginning of an incredible game by Donovan. He was 3-for-3 for the game with a walk and a sacrifice. He hammered a tworun double to left in the fourth inning, which pushed the Havre lead to 9-2. His productive day at the plate continued in the fifth when he picked up an RBI off a sacrifice fly. In the sixth, he pushed his RBI total to six, when he singled to score Bryan Heath, to make the score 19-7. Seth Jensen picked up with win for the Northstars after getting plenty of run support from his teammates. He gave up seven runs, four of them earned in four and 2/3 innings pitched, while striking out and walking three, respectively. The only slip-up in the tournament for Havre came in the second game, when the Northstars lost 6-5 in extra innings to the host team Gallatin Valley. Havre struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning following a two-run double by Heath that scored Logan Reichelt and Callahan. The Northstars added two more runs in the third inning and another in the fifth. However, the lead evaporated in the bottom half of the fifth after a critical throwing error allowed Gallatin Valley to score two runs to tie the game at 5-5. The game went into extra innings and Scott Ladenburg was brought in to relieve Peterson. But Ladenburg walked two batters, which led to a game-ending RBI single. “Overall I was very pleased, with the exception of a few innings we played very good ball this weekend,” Northstars head coach Steve Fanning said. “I would have liked to have played with more intensity against Gallatin Valley, being they were the best team there and they already beat us once this year. But we will see them again next weekend.” On Saturday, in their third game of the tournament, the Northstars found themselves in extra innings for the second straight game. This time it would be the Northstars, not their opponent Smithfield, Utah, coming out on top. In the top of the sixth inning, the Northstars were looking at a 3-1 deficit and the offense had been limited to just three hits and one run up to that point. But it all changed with one swing of the bat. Callahan led off the inning with a double to right field, setting the stage for a dramatic game-tying two-run home run by Heath. With the score knotted up at 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning, it was Reichelt’s turn to be the hero, as he belted a tworun triple deep into the gap in center field with two outs to score both Heath and Donovan. Smithfield managed to score once in bottom half of the inning, but Donovan got out of a jam and sealed the 5-4 win. Andrew Lindquist got a no-decision despite a stellar outing in which he allowed just four runs on nine hits in seven innings of work. Havre closed out an impressive weekend on Sunday with a pair of easy victories. First the Northstars easily disposed of the Butte Muckers 10-0 behind the outstanding pitching of Austin Small. Small no-hit the Muckers for the five innings he pitched, and was just one walk away from being perfect. He retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced and also notched three strikeouts to earn the win. Peterson led the way at the plate for Havre, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. The Northstars closed out the weekend with an 11-4 victory over Glendive. Donovan continued his hot streak at the plate with a two-run home run in the third inning, giving Havre a 5-0 lead. No Northstars player had a better weekend than Donovan, who hit successfully in all five games and was a combined 9-for-16 in the tournament with one home run and 10 RBIs. The early run support was more than enough for starting pitcher Anthony Wirtzberger to seal the deal against Glendive. He allowed just four runs on 10 hits, while striking out four in seven strong innings to earn the complete-game victory for Havre. The Northstars will return to district play on Wednesday when they travel to Vauxhall for a doubleheader.