Northstars effort at state falls tantalizingly short
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The Havre Northstars came up a couple of runs short in their bid Tuesday evening to revenge their lone tournament loss and to play for the State A American Legion title.
The Northstars advanced to the semi-final contest against the Bitterroot Red Sox by doubling up on the Belgrade Bandits Tuesday afternoon, winning 6-3.
In the nightcap, the Northstars managed to get 11 runs across the plate, but fell short when Bitterroot shoved across a run in the top of the ninth to break the 11-11 tie. The Northstars were unable to score in their half of the ninth.
Cory Junck pitched a complete game against Belgrade to claim the win Tuesday afternoon. Junck gave up three runs on eight hits.
The Northstars gave Junck all the help he needed, carding six runs on seven hits. Six different players scored. Dan Wirtzberger led the Havre batters, going 2-for-4 at the plate. Five other players contributed one hit each, including a double by Bob Bergren.
The Northstars allowed two quick runs in the second game and trailed Bitterroot 2-1 at the end of one. Bitterroot scored again in the top of the second to go ahead 3-1 and added three more runs in the top of the third. The Northstars responded with two runs of their own in the third. Bitterroot spread five more runs through the next five innings.
Trailing 11-5 going into the bottom of the eight, Havre's batters responded with six runs. Bitterroot rounded out the scoring with its winning run in the top of the ninth.
Havre's pitching duties were split three ways. Tyler Thompson gave up four runs on five hits in two innings of play. Eric Lipp came on in the third and pitched 6 and two-third innings. Lipp allowed eight runs on 10 hits and was replaced with two outs in the top of the ninth. Doug Ireland put down the one batter he faced to close of the inning.
Errors nearly cost Bitterroot the game as the Red Sox had 24 miscues to just 11 for the Northstars. The Northstars only had 12 errors in the afternoon game, compared to 13 for Belgrade.
The Northstars finished the tournament 3-2, its only losses coming at the hands of the Bitterroot Red Sox. They opened tournament play with a win Saturday, downing the Bozeman Spikes 14-11. They dropped their Sunday encounter with Bitterroot 12-5, before coming back to down the Billings Blue Jays 6-5 and Belgrade Bandits 6-3 in the loser-out round.