Lions roar to Minors championship

 

Last updated 7/20/2020 at 7:40am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Action from Sunday's Havre Youth Baseball Minors championship game at Elks Park. Lions beat Bob's Greenhouse for the title. For more photos, go to www.havredailynews.com.

Once again, baseball took over the weekend in Havre. After the Havre Youth Baseball Association's Majors Tournament, the HYBA Minors Tournament took the stage next. At Elks Park, four teams, the Havre Lions, Bob's Greenhouse, Lewis Heating & AC and Subway, took to the field for a chance at a first-place finish in the tourney, with one team fighting through a tough bracket to make it to the top.

And that team was the Havre Lions, who pushed all the way through the winner's bracket to go undefeated at Elks Park, beating Subway 9-2 Thursday evening, then getting through Bob's Greenhouse 5-2 Friday evening, with their victory crowned after a comeback win against Bob's Greenhouse 8-4 Sunday morning. Led by coaches Levi Olsen and Dustin Kinsella, players Landon Kinsella, Noah Dionne, Lucas Olsen, Jordan Heninger, Sean Nagel, Grady Morse, Noah Johnson, Wyatt Mord, Jostyn Dees and Marcus Olsen all put in work to earn the spot at the top. Coach Olsen was proud of his team for not giving up throughout the season and the tournament.


"Going into the season, two of the players were my sons, so I knew what to expect from them," Olsen said. "But I didn't know any of the other kids on the team. It was kind of a strange season because it was kind of thrown in last second with all the COVID-19 things going on, so it kind of felt a little helter-skelter to begin. I was so proud of these kids from the moment of the first practice up to here. They always had great attitudes, were always motivated and they were enthusiastic right from the start. It was just awesome. They were really easy to coach and there were a lot of talented kids, too."

The second-place team, Bob's Greenhouse, gave it their all throughout the tournament, as well, starting by winning over Lewis Heating & AC 9-8 Thursday evening, then pushing through the loser's bracket, beating Subway 8-7 Saturday morning to make it to the championship. Coached by Brian Berreth and Mike Olson, players Grady Haney, Hayden Berreth, Wyatt Anderson, Orrin Greenwood, Colwin Haney, Cash Gobin, Kaden Anderson, Keltin Solomon, Mason Walker, Ian Davison and Tucker Olson put on a show throughout the tournament. And coach Berreth was proud of the effort and work his team put in over the weekend.

"We did good," Berreth said. "We won our first game, lost our second game and came back on Saturday by winning our game yesterday to come back Sunday. We battled with our pitchers and did what we could."

The championship game was quite the showdown. Both the Havre Lions and Bob's Greenhouse battled it out for the first couple innings, with one run put up by both squads in the first, followed by a quick lead for Bob's Greenhouse 2-1 after the second inning. In the third, the Havre Lions tied it up once again, but Bob's Greenhouse sent two runners home to lead 4-2 as the game went on.


Eventually, the Havre Lions evened the score 4-4, but Bob's Greenhouse held them back for a moment. It would not be strong enough, though, as the Havre Lions took advantage of the bottom of the fifth inning, with four runners scoring to storm into the lead and after keeping Bob's Greenhouse from scoring while at-bat, the Havre Lions were crowned the champions of the hard-fought tournament. Needless to say, it was a big weekend for the Havre Lions.

But, none of that would have happened if the local health board and community did not approve the season. At the end of the day, Berreth was glad to see that things were able to work out so the kids could play.

"I'm glad," Berreth said. "I'm glad the kids got to play. That's the most important part; that the kids got to play. It's good to see that they were able to finish their season and get out for the summer. It's important for them to get out there and do it."

The Havre Lions roared over the weekend to make it to the top, but Olsen was overjoyed that the tournament as a whole was full of close games that challenged his team.

"We had a lot of games that weren't close before," Olsen said. "But in this tournament, games were very close. We were able to show some grit and perseverance both offensively and defensively. We had a lot of good pitchers. That's one thing that helped. When games got really close, nobody got frantic or anxious, the kids just locked down. A lot of kids mastered roles, which was good to see."


Most of the HYBA's leagues have finished their seasons, with the Majors and Minors tournaments completed, but there is still one more league that is ready to wrap up its season, as the Babe Ruth championship game will be taking place Thursday evening at Legion Field, where another victor will be crowned. HYBA baseball is still kicking and the Babe Ruth league has been waiting for this moment for quite some time.

MINORS CHAMPIONSHIP

Havre Lions 8, Bob's Greenhouse 4

SATURDAY

Subway 1, Lewis Heating & AC 0

(game score not reported, but game came down to one run)

Bob's Greenhouse 8, Subway 7

FRIDAY

Havre Lions 5, Bob's Greenhouse 2

THURSDAY

Havre Lions 9, Subway 2

Bob's Greenhouse 9, Lewis Heating & AC 8

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Action from Sunday's Havre Youth Baseball Minors championship game at Elks Park. Lions beat Bob's Greenhouse for the title. For more photos, go to www.havredailynews.com.

 

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