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Busy weekend ahead for North Stars

 


Havre's Thurman Holdsclaw gets ready to swing at a pitch during an American Legion baseball game last Friday at Legion Field in Havre. The North Stars are in Three Forks this weekend for the Gallatin Valley Tournament. Havre returns to play at home next Wednesday against the Fort MacLeod Royals.

The Havre North Stars American Legion baseball club had a successful North Star Memorial Tournament. And in that tourney last weekend in Havre, the North Stars played a rigorous five games in three days.

Now they'll do it again.

Starting today at 4 p.m., the North Stars will be in action at the Gallatin Valley Tournament in Three Forks, with the first of five nonconference games over the course of the next three days. Havre opens play with Lewistown Redbirds, then turns around and plays again immediately after against the host Gallatin Valley Outlaws.

On Saturday, the North Stars play a morning doubleheader starting with the Bitterroot Red Sox at 8:30 a.m. and the Butte Muckers at 11 a.m. The North Stars close out their tournament with a game against the Glendive Blue Devils at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

And playing that many seven-inning games in a short amount of time should be nothing new to the North Stars, who bring an 8-7 overall record into the tourney. Havre did the same last weekend at home, and also played a doubleheader Tuesday in Great Falls. But this weekend's road trip may be a little tougher for Havre considering the North Stars will be without pitcher infielder Gareth Bernard and first basemen/pitcher Kolby Sukut.

Havre's starting rotation will be thin, and will have to rely heavily on the arms of Brandon Smith, Justin Jensen and Mark Vukasin. The North Star bats will also get a test against some very good pitching staffs this weekend.

Havre will also face some new foes, and get rematches this weekend. Lewistown, Butte and Bitterroot are all new match-ups for the North Stars and all three present challenges. But out of the three, it's the Red Sox who will be most daunting. Bitterroot is widely considered the top team in Class, and they have top-notch players from Hamilton and Corvallis making up the squad. But the Redbirds and Muckers will also pose tough teams for Havre.

The North Stars will also get to see Gallatin Valley and Glendive for a second time in as many weeks. The Outlaws and Blue Devils were the only teams to beat the North Stars last weekend in Havre. Gallatin Valley shut out Havre in a pitcher's dual 4-0 last Friday and Glendive beat the North Stars 8-2 last Saturday night. So the second time around, Havre head coach Mickey Williams will be looking for improvement against two high-caliber clubs.

Havre will start play in the Gallatin Valley Tournament today at 4 p.m. The North Star's final game will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday and all of the action takes place in Three Forks. The North Stars are back at home on Wednesday to face the Fort MacLeod Royals.

 

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