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Districts is the end of the road for Northstars

Following an opening-round win over Tri-County Thursday, the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team needed just two more victories to advance to the State A Legion tournament.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Havre ran into top-seeded Vauxhall Friday and got overpowered 12-2, before falling Saturday morning to the host team, Medicine Hat, 9-3, a loss which ended the season. The 1-2 mark at the Northern A District tournament left Havre 24-20 on the season overall. The club was 13-11 in the district during the regular season.

“Our season came to an end,” Northstars head coach Patch Wirtzberger wrote on his Twitter account Saturday. “Always a tough pill to swallow. Proud of these kids for all they accomplished this year. They are headed in the right direction.”

After the 8-5 win over Tri-County, things couldn’t have started much better Friday in the next round against Vauxhall, the regular-season champion. Starting pitcher Austin Delarosa retired the Spurs in order in the bottom of the first and in the top of the second, Havre struck first, thanks to an RBI single from Tyrel Kjersem. Kennedy McKay brought another run home with a sac fly and suddenly, Havre had a 2-0 advantage.

Yet, it wouldn’t last long. The Spurs responded with six runs in the second inning, another in the third and five more in the fourth. They racked up nine of their 11 hits on Delarosa, who allowed 12 runs, although only two of them were earned. Three Northstars errors also contributed to the onslaught.

On the other side, Brady Howg settled down after a rocky start to earn the complete-game win after just five innings. The game ended due to the mercy rule. Howg allowed four hits and two runs while striking out three. He also issued just one walk. Quinn Reno, Kelden Sullivan, Eli Cloninger and Kjersem all finished with one hit each in the loss.

The defeat sent Havre into the loser’s bracket where it faced Medicine Hat Saturday moring. However, things went downhill quickly for the Northstars as starting pitcher Tony Antley didn’t make it out of the first inning. After struggling with control, hitting two batters and allowing a hit, two runs and two walks, Antley was removed. Ethan Roberts helped minimize the damage and the Northstars trailed 2-0.

Havre tied the score at 2-2 after RBI singles by Quinn Reno and Delarosa and the score stayed that way until the top of the third when three walks and two errors led to a five-run inning. The Knights added another run in the fifth and sixth innings to push the lead to 9-3. The Northstars cut into the deficit with a run in the bottom of the sixth, but despite getting more hits overall, they couldn’t muster a big inning and saw their season end in the six-run loss.

For the second straight game, errors proved costly for the Northstars, who surrendered nine runs total, with only three of them being earned after four errors. Seven errors in the last two games led to 16 unearned runs. The 12 walks and four hit batters didn’t help matters either.

Roberts was given the loss after coming on in relief of Antley. He allowed five runs in an inning and two-thirds. The senior gave up just one hit and struck out two on top of two walks. He also notched a hit and a run offensively. Reno had another solid day, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Trenton Maloughney, Kjersem and Delarosa all finished with one hit each. McKay, a senior, had two hits in his final game. He also registered an RBI.

Havre’s season came to a close but the team that finished just a half-game ahead of them in the standings, Lewistown, is advancing to state. The Redbirds reached the semifinals to face Vauxhall after Ben Kolar no-hit Lethbridge. Kolar one-hit Havre earlier in the season and his effort got his team within one win of a return trip to state. Lewistown followed it up with an 8-5 win over Vauxhall, which clinched their berth.

Yet, the Spurs came back through the bracket and knocked off Lethbridge before beating Lewistown to win the district championship. Both teams will advance to the state tournament.

Vauxhall 12, Havre 2

Havre 020 00 - 2 4 3

Vauxhaull 061 5x - 12 11 3

WP - Brady Howg

LP - Austin Delarosa

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

Medicine Hat 9, Havre 2

Med Hat 205 011 0 - 9 7 3

Havre 200 000 1 - 3 8 4

WP - Evan Morrison

LP - Ethan Roberts

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


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