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Shaina's Challenge returns with more fastpitch fun

Annual fastpitch tourney kicks off tonight with Blue Pony Alumni game


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Former Havre Blue Pony Coda Tchida bats in the 2017 Shaina's Challenge Men's Fastpitch Tournament last June. The annual tourney, in honor of the late Shaina Evans, returns this weekend. The action starts tonight and runs through Sunday at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.

The sport of fastpitch softball has a strong following locally here in Havre and this weekend, with the seventh-annual Shania's challenge, some of Havre's top local athletes will be around to take part in the annual tournament.

The Shaina's Challenge Men's Fastpitch Tournament started six years ago and will be hosted again this weekend at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field. The tournament will feature eight teams and the first game in the bracket is scheduled for tonight at 7:30. However, prior to the tournament starting, the Blue Pony softball alumni game will get underway at 6.

Some of the sponsors for the tournament, which will run through Sunday, are the Gallery Lounge, Koefod Agency, Bear Paw Credit Union, Havre Ford, Master Sports, Tire Rama, The Oxford, Valley Furniture, Super 8 Motel and Western Trailer Sales.

Some of the teams in attendance will also have a local flavor to them such as Master Sports which will feature a number of former Havre Northstars such as Billy Evans, Sean Mariani, Justin Jensen, John Christian, Ryan Callahan, Ricky Brown, Ryne Antley, CJ Evans, Kyle Miller, John Shennum, Daine Solomon and Andy Smith.

Legendary local pitcher Gary Jo Evans will lead the Gallery Lounge. He will be joined by Cal Wirtzberger, Rusty Evans, Tony Vigliotti, Bucky Lindstrand, Bo Evans, Doug Vandolah, Dave Hergeshimer, Bob Evans Jr., Lunar Evans, Mark Elliot, Mike Kato and Mike Evans.

Havre Ford is another team with a number of former local athletes such as Danny Wirtzberger, Patch Wirtzberger, Rob Watson, Ryan Evans, Shawn Keeley, Steve Steinmetz, Coda Tchida, Ryan Divish, Frank Cornwell, Kyle Sheppard and Nate Baltrusch.

Danny Wirtzberger is the a manager of the Northstars and Patch currently serves as one of the assistant coaches and at one time was interim manager. Another notable name on the roster is Divish, a former Northstars player and Havre Daily News sports editor, who now covers the Seattle Mariners for the Seattle Times.

As far as the Blue Pony softball alumni game, there will be a number of former HHS greats in attendance such as Davee McLeod, Sydne Huston, Camryn Huston, Kelsey Ward, Karly Danielson, Katie Hofer, Paige Henderson, Rachel Majeres, Scout Boucher, Erika Han, Kaci Hipple, Tabby Myers, Maddy Tommerup, Payton Howard, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Jaycelyn Hassa, Tracyn LaBuda, Jacey McDonald, Leanne Hanson, Mary Lyons and Alex Barkus.

Following the Blue Pony alumni game tonight, Havre Ford will take on Bear Paw Credit Union at 7:30.

Next up will be The Gallery Lounge vs. Koefod at 9 p.m., as well as Master Sports vs Tire Rama in the nightcap at 10:30. Things will start up again Saturday morning at 8, with the Oxford taking on Valley Furniture in the final game of the opening round.

There will be nine more contests Saturday and three more games Sunday starting at 9 a.m., including the championship at 12 p.m.


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