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North Stars begin league play in Great Falls

It is still early in the American Legion baseball season, and the competition is only going to get tougher from here for the Havre North Stars base ball program.

The North Stars dropped three games to a very good Redbirds team out of Calgary last weekend, and are now prepared to take on a very tough team out of Great Falls. Sunday the North Stars will face the hosting Great Falls Electrics in Great Falls. The North Stars and Electrics will face off in a double header beginning at 12 p.m. The doubleheader is the Northern District opener for both squads.

Havre has yet to face the Electrics this season. But if the big brother Great Falls Chargers' talent level is any indication of what the Electrics will bring to the table, the North Stars know they are in for two very tough games.

"I fully expect them (Electrics) to be the top team in our conference," Havre head coach Danny Wirtzberger said. "So this will be a good opportunity to see how we match up in the conference. And now of course our mentality switches a little bit to where we want to win games. It isn't about getting everybody innings, we know who our 10 or 11 best players are and our best nine are going to take the field every game."

Pitching has been somewhat of an issue for the North Stars thus far, but they have the personnel to change that.

Tyrell Pierce, Dane Warp, Deion Hammett, Jase Kato, and Spencer Ross will handle the pitching duties this weekend, and they will be leaned on heavily. And their solid outings could result in a win. The North Stars have struggled to start and close out games, with a tendencies to give up too many runs early and late, and making it tough to stay competitive. But if the North Stars pitching staff can stay consistent, as well as get some run support from the lineup as a whole, the North Stars could push the Electrics to two close games.

"Hopefully they will all do a good job for us and throw some strikes," Wirtzberger said. "We worked on our pitching this week, working on pickoff moves and mechanics on how to make adjustments when we aren't throwing strikes. They have done a lot of work in the bullpen. But we are also working on situational hitting, looking for that juicy pitch, or just looking for a ball we need to foul off to try and stay alive. Both coach Dick Fuzesy and coach Tony Vigliotti have done a nice job with our players this week."

Thurman Holdsclaw got off to a slow start this season, but quickly heated up last Sunday in two games against Calgary. His bat will be important this season and this weekend, as will the bats of Ross, David Denny, and Gavin Gunderson.

Fielding will also be key, as the young North Stars have to eliminate the young mistakes, and limit their errors according to coach Wirtzberger.

"Thurman is just Thurman," Wirtzberger said. "And he is going to be good at whatever he does. And he is going to have to be the backbone of our lineup. Tyrell Pierce has also really stepped up from last year, and all of his at bats that he got last year, are really coming through for him right now.

"Everybody has to step up." He added. "We have to play North Star baseball. We can't have too many errors, errors are going to happen, but we can't have mental errors. We have to play really good baseball to hopefully split down there."

Havre will face the Great Falls Electrics in a doubleheader on Sunday. The first game begins at 12 p.m.The North Stars don't return home until May 31 when they host the Great Falls Bolts.


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