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Northstars head to a big tournament in Helena

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre's Eli Cloninger bats during a recent American Legion baseball game in Havre. The Northstars are taking a break from conference play this weekend, attending a tournament in Helena.

The stretch run for the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team has arrived, with only a few weeks left in the 2019 regular season.

The Northstars have just eight games remaining within the Northern A District and right now, they currently sit in second place with a mark of 10-6. Yet, before embarking on the final eight games of district play, Havre will get one last chance to fine tune things in non-conference play and that comes this weekend to play in a tournament in Helena.

Havre, which is 18-11 overall, is guaranteed to play four games in the tournament, which opened with group play Thursday as the Northstars took on the Calgary Blues. The Northstars are also scheduled to take on the Bozeman Bucks this afternoon at 2:30 p.m., followed by a contest with the Mountain View Toros Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Then Sunday, Havre and the rest of the teams will play another game based off how they are seeded in their group.

The non-conference tournament should provide a solid test for the Norhtstars, who will get a chance to take on one of the top teams in Class AA Legion baseball in Montana Friday in the Bozeman Bucks, who are currently 9-3 and second in the AA standings. That should help the Northstars prepare for the four games they have remaining against Vauxhall, the first place team in the Northern A.

When it comes to the pitching staff, just about everyone should be available, outside of Tony Antley and Kennedy McKay who each started and earned wins on the road against the Tri-Country Cardinals Tuesday. That will leave head coach Patch Wirtzberger with a number of other options including veteran Austin Delarosa, as well as Tyrel Kjersem and Trenton Maloughney. Carson Lunak, Ethan Carlson and Kelden Sullivan are some others who could be available if needed.

Havre will come into the tournament riding a three-game winning streak that has been thanks in large part to a batting order that has produced 32 runs in those three wins. The Northstars have also boosted their team batting average to .312 when it was below .300 just a few weeks ago.

Leading the way for the Northstars offense is their dynamic duo at the top of the batting order. Ethan Roberts is one of the most dynamic leadoff hitters in the state and he boasts a .482 batting average to go along with a team-high 51 runs. He has also drawn a team-high 24 walks and in addition to that, leads the team with 31 stolen bases.

Quinn Reno, who is hitting second in the lineup, has also been spectacular, hitting .465 for the season. He also leads the Northstars with 33 RBIs and has 31 runs scored. Antley has also been a force at the plate, with 22 RBIs, 24 runs scored and a batting average of .333.

After playing a few non-conference games this weekend in Helena, Havre will return to its Northern A district schedule next Wednesday, with a road doubleheader against Vauxhall.

 

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