Boyce to pitch in Northstars opener
Less than a week after struggling through a sloppy and tumultuous North District Baseball Tournament last weekend, the Havre Northstars won't have much time to put that behind them as they face Gallatin Valley in the first round of the Class A state tournament Friday in Belgrade.
Havre has played Gallatin Valley once this season, defeating the Bozeman-area team 6-5 in an American Legion tournament in Missoula in July.
Should the Northstars (43-17 overall) advance to the second round, they will meet the Bitterroot Valley Red Sox, whom they also defeated at that Missoula tournament, 6-3. Wolf Point and Belgrade comprise the rest of the Northstars' half of the bracket.
Havre coach Mickey Williams said his team has regained its composure after a tough-to-swallow 8-6 loss to Lethbridge in the championship game of the district tournament.
"We're back to normal again and ready to get down to business," he said.
Havre committed an atrocious 16 errors during districts, and Williams is sure that another effort like that will result in a quick exit from the state tournament.
"If we play better (defensively) than this last weekend, we'll be OK," Williams said. "We need to play better baseball."
Williams has summoned Jared Boyce to start on the mound in the opener for the Northstars.
"I'm pretty sure he'll get a chance to pitch again if we win at least one game," Williams said.
Boyce is 8-2 this season with an ERA of 2.75 this season, including a win over the Havre Comets to secure the Northstars' berth into the state tournament. He's also struck out 85 batters this season and walked just 19.
David Knight, who leads the team in wins (10) and strikeouts (95) is slated to start on the mound in Havre's second game.
"We're sitting pretty good with pitching," Williams said.
Williams also said he's confident his offense, which was sporadic at times during districts, will be clicking at state.
"You're always kind of worried about it, but we have a good offense and it takes pressure off you little bit defense- and pitching-wise," he said, "We have to do the best we can and do what we've been doing. We're not going to change anything now."