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Northstars advance

 

The Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team hasn’t had a lot of success at the Northern A District tournament over the last decade or so.

But Thursday in Medicine Hat, the Northstars began exercising those demons, earning an 8-5 win in the opening game over Tri-County. Havre scored four runs in the first two innings and then used a solid performance from starting pitcher Kennedy McKay to notch a win that advances the Northstars to the next round against Vauxhall this afternoon at 3 p.m.

“We won the first game,” Northstars head coach Patch Wirtzberger said. “But we still have a lot of work to do in Medicine Hat.”

Building an early lead was key for the Northstars and that started right away in the bottom of the first inning when Austin Delarosa drove home a run with an RBI single to put his team in front 1-0. In the second, the Northstars continued their hot start and added three more runs thanks to run-scoring hits by Caden Jenkins, Ethan Roberts and Quinn Reno.

With a 4-0 cushion, McKay, who went 2-0 against Tri-County during the regular season, went to work. The Cardinals were able to scrape together a run in the third, but in five innings of work, McKay allowed only five runs on five hits while striking out seven.

After Tri-County cut the lead to 4-2, a couple of Cardinal errors in the bottom of the fifth led to another three-run inning for the Northstars. Havre added another insurance run in the six and despite allowing three runs to Tri-County in the top of the sixth, the lead was 8-5 going into the seventh inning.

Roberts got the call in the bullpen to replace McKay in the sixth and in the seventh, he held the Cardinals scoreless to wrap up the 8-5 win. In addition to pitching an inning and two-thirds late, Roberts also went 3-of-4 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI. Delarosa was also key, notching two hits, two RBIs and a run. Reno, Trenton Maloughney, Kelden Sullivan, Jenkins and Tony Antley all contributed with a hit each as Havre finished with 10 total. Tri-County finished with six hits and committed three errors, compared to only one for the Northstars.

With the win, Havre moves into the winner’s bracket and will face top-seeded Vauxhall, which put together a 19-4 record during the regular season. Yet, one of those losses came last Saturday to the Northstars at Legion Field, so the Spurs are beatable.

In terms of starting pitchers, Northstars’ head coach Patch Wirtzberger could choose to use Antley, Tyrel Kjersem or Delarosa. All three are available and are fully rested. That could be a game-time decision like it was Thursday when he decided to go with McKay, who wound up getting the win.

If the Northstars (24-18) win today against Vauxhall, they will advance into the semifinals Saturday at 3 p.m. If Havre loses, it will go into the loser’s bracket and will play Saturday at 9 a.m. Regardless, the team needs just two more wins to qualify for the State A Legion tournament.

Havre 8, Tri-County 5

Tri-County 001 013 0 - 5 6 3

Havre 130 031 x - 8 10 1

WP - Kennedy McKay

Havre - Ethan Roberts 3-4, Quinn Reno 1-3, Trenton Maloughney 1-4, Austin Delarosa 2-4, Kelden Sullivan 1-4, Tony Antley 1-1, Kennedy McKay 0-1, Eli Cloninger 0-3, Tyrel Kjersem 0-2, Caden Jenkins 1-3.

 

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