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It's that time again, time for Shaina's Challenge

Havre High Alumni Game, Shaina's Challenge men's fastpitch tourney on tap once again


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

During the annual Shaina's Challenge International Men's Fastpitch Tournament, every uniform on every team bares the No. 17. That was Shaina Evans' number when she played volleyball for the Montana State University-Northern Skylights. This weekend's tourney is named in her honor and also helps support a scholarship at Northern in her honor.

Like everything else in sports, this weekend's Sixth Annual Shaina's Challenge International Men's Fastpitch Softball Tournament will seem different. After all, everything is different during this coronavirus pandemic.

And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As has been the norm on the last weekend in June, the Shaina's Challenge tournament, named in honor of former Montana State University-Northern volleyball player Shaina Evans, who was killed in tragic car accident, has, along with the Havre High Alumni Softball Game, become a staple event at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field. And this one will be no different, with the exception of the coronavirus protocols put in place at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.

As always, the tournament will feature eight teams, sponsored by local Havre businesses. The double-elimination bracket will start tonight with Havre Ford taking on Bear Paw Credit Union, which sponsors a team from Plentywood. In the 9 p.m. game, Gallery Lounge takes on Koefod (Consul), while Master Sports and Tire Rama (Missoula) wrap up the first day of action. The final first-round game will feature Oxford Bar (Minton) against Valley Furniture (Missoula) Saturday morning at 8 p.m.

Saturday's action continues with loser-out games at 9:30 and 11 a.m., followed by quarterfinals at 12:30 and 2 p.m. More loser-out action is slated for 3:30 and 5 p.m. Saturday, as well as games at 9 and 10:30 p.m. The winner's bracket semifinal will also be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.

The tournament then concludes with loser-out games at 9 and 10:30 a.m. and the championship battle at 12 p.m. Sunday.

The Shaina tournament, which raises money for a scholarship named in her honor at Northern, will feature plenty of familiar names from the fastpitch-rich Havre history, including Gary Joe Evans, who is not only one of the greatest pitchers in modern fast pitch history, but also Shaina's father.

Of course familiar names will also be on hand tonight when the Alumni Game gets underway to kick off the weekend.

Former Blue Ponies expected to play include Davee McLeod, Sydne Huston, Cameron Huston, Kesley Ward, Karly Danielson, Katie Hofer, Paige Henderson, Rachel Majeres, Scout Boucher, Erika Briese, Kaci Hipple, Maddy Tommerup, Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Payton Howard, Jacey McDonald, Leanne Hanson, Amanda Hamilton, Paige Warren, Jordy Warren, Kelly Kelsey, Kaitlin Anderson, Courtney Filler, Dani Wagner, Jeralyn Verploegen, Lauren Kato and Kinzee Peterson. Mary Lyons, Kirstin Donoven and Kim Prevost are scheduled to coach. And, the tournament is once again organized by Dan Wirtzberger, who was once the head coach of the Blue Ponies.

The Havre High alumni game kicks off the big weekend of softball tonight at 5 at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.


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