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Northstars play host to great competition

 

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The month of June just got started, but the Havre American Legion baseball program isn't wasting any time getting more games under their belts.

After a four-game homestand last weekend, the North Stars are headed back to the diamond for five more. Thursday- Sunday the North Stars will host their annual Memorial Tournament at Legion Field in Havre.

And with eight teams coming to town, Havre has an opportunity to hopefully add a few more notches to the win column.

Joining the North Stars this weekend will be the Tri-County Cardinals, Glasgow Reds, Glendive Blue Devils, Wolf Point Yellowjackets, Calgary Reds, Gallatin Valley Outlaws, Calgary Redbirds and Strathmore Reds.

On Thursday, the North Stars will open up play with two games. They will face Glendive at 4 p.m. and Wolfpoint at 9

p. m. On Friday Havre will play Gallatin Valley at 6:30 p.m. And on Saturday they will face Strathmore at 9 p.m. before facing the Calgary Reds at on Sunday at 4 p.m. "This is going to be a really competitive weekend," Havre head coach Steve Fanning said. "It should be a good tournament." There aren't any easy games this weekend, not for the North Stars and not for any other team. With teams like the Cardinals, Outlaws, Blue Devils, Yellowjackets and Glasgow in attendance, the competition should be tough.

The Cardinals were the No. 1 team in the North Star's conference a season ago, and the Outlaws are continually one of the top teams in the state. And the Blue Devils and Glasgow bring tough competition out of the east while the Yellowjackets also bring a very solid program that found good success at the tournaments last year.

The Calgary Reds, Redbirds and the Strathmore Reds should also compete this weekend coming out of Canada. All three teams bring some mystery to the tournament, but should still push any opponent.

"Anytime you play those Canadian teams they are well coached, well disciplined and competitive across the board," Fanning said.

But even with the mystery of the Canadian teams, the North Stars should do very well this weekend.

They played the Blue Devils several times last year and were competitive in every game. The Outlaws are said to be down this season, but Fanning isn't overlooking them as they Are always a competitive team and always well coached.

But as of now, the Yellowjackets look to be the toughest source of competition for the North Stars.

Fanning and the North Stars haven't heard any recent news on the team, but they are always strong. They bring back most of their roster from a year ago, and that brings back some concern for Havre after being dominated by the Yellowjackets in their only meeting last season.

Havre would like to compete with the Yellowjackets in front of the home crowd, but are also thinking along the lines of redemption.

"They were one of the most athletic teams we faced last year," Fanning said. "And whenever you have that it makes for a good ballclub. That should be a tough game.

"We definitely want to turn the tables on that game," Fanning added.

For the North Stars to be competitive in any game this weekend, the game plan is pretty much the same.

With five games in four days, they have to have good outings by their pitchers.

"The offense is definitely still going to be developing for quite a while," Fanning said. "We haven't seen enough games to say what's consistent, but I have been pleasantly surprised with the production from my kids. Coming in we knew we had some kids with talent, but we've also had some kids really step up and add to that. We just need everything to be clicking to do well this weekend." Kyle Miller continues to be a leader for the North Stars with both his defense and presence at the plate. Look for him to have another good weekend as well as Brayden Grimson who is coming off of an outstanding home stand last weekend.

Mark Vukasin has also stepped up his play in recent weeks and should play a definite role this weekend. And though CJ Evans, Justin Jensen and Brandon Smith have played well already this season, those having a big weekend would really benefit Havre.

"It's still early in the season," Fanning said. "But coming into the tournament I feel that we can be competitive in every game that that we play. We really want to come out and play to the level of the competition and step it up." Thursday-Sunday the North Stars will host their annual North Star Memorial Tournament at Legion Field in Havre.

Thursday they will face the Blue Devils at 4 p.m. and the Yellowjackets at 9 p.m. On Friday Havre will play the Outlaws at 6:30 p.m. And on Saturday Havre will face the Strathmore Reds at 9 p.m. before facing the Calgary Reds at on Sunday at 4 p.m.

 
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