MISSOULA The Havre Northstars, oh-so-close to finishing the Missoula American Legion baseball tournament undefeated through five games, settled for a second-place finish in the event this past weekend.
Havre, which finished the three-day event with a 3-2 record, defeated defending state champion Bitterroot Valley 6-3 in the Northstars' biggest highlight of the tournament.
Havre also defeated host Missoula 10-6 and Gallatin Valley 6-5, but couldn't squeak out victories in games they led or were tied in late in losses to Kennewick, Wash. (12-5) and Coeur d' Alene, Idaho (5-4).
HAVRE 6, BITTERROOT VALLEY 3
Havre pitcher Jared Boyce manhandled Bitterroot for six innings, holding the opponent to just one run in the first inning until they scored two inconsequential runs in the seventh.
Havre wasted little time taking the lead away from Bitterroot with two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead.
Jordan Anderson and Boyce had back-to-back RBI singles to account for the Northstars' two runs in the inning.
Havre then added two more runs in the second on Danny Wirtzberger's two-run double to take an insurmountable 4-1 lead.
Boyce pitched a complete game and struck out eight. He walked five and gave up just four hits.
Wirtzberger paced the Northstars' 10-hit attack with a 3-for-4 effort with three RBI, and C.J. Reichelt added a 410-foot home run in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
HAVRE 10, MISSOULA 6
Havre trailed 6-5 entering the fourth inning, but the Northstars erputed for five runs on four hits and one Missoula error to seize the lead and, eventually, the win.
Havre's Kyle Sheppard, who picked up the win on the mound, had the big hit of the inning with a two-run triple.
David Knight contributed in the inning with an RBI triple, Doug Ireland had an RBI double and Garrett Hanson added a run-scoring single for the Northstars.
Knight finished the game 4-for-4 with two RBI, Sheppard was 2-for-4 with three RBI and Hanson drove in two runs and was 2-for-2.
HAVRE 6, GALLATIN VALLEY 5
Mike Kellam scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch to hand the Northstars the victory.
After a pair of flyouts, Kellam singled and advanced to second on another single by Wirtzberger.
After a catcher's interference call during Anderson's at-bat forced the bases loaded, Kellam scored on the wild pitch to break the 5-5 tie.
Kellam was 3-for-3, and Knight finished 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead Havre, which amassed 11 hits overall.
Boyce went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Wirtzberger also had two hits.
KENNEWICK, WASH. 12, HAVRE 5
After Havre tied the game at 4-all in the top of the sixth on Kevin Jurenka's run, Kennewick sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning en route to eight runs.
Eight of the first nine batters in Kennewick's half of the sixth reached base and came around to score to put the game out of reach in an emphatic way.
Jurenka led the Northstars' hitting attack with a 3-for-4 effort, and Knight, Sheppard and Anderson each had two hits.
COEUR D' ALENE, IDAHO 5, HAVRE 4
The Northstars scored three runs in the first to grab the early advantage, but the Idaho team tied the game by the third and took the lead with two runs in the fifth.
Havre cut the gap to 5-4 in the seventh when Wirtzberger scored on Sheppard's sacrifice, but Anderson was left stranded at third to end the game.
Kellam had a two-run single to highlight the Northstars' three-run first.