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The postseason has finally arrived for the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball club. After a long and hot summer, the Northstars will get to host the North A District tournament this weekend at Legion Field. With a shot at making the state tournament, Havre head coach Patch Wirtzberger feels confident heading into the postseason.

“We’ve been playing some really good baseball so hopefully our best baseball is right in front of us here this week,” Wirtzberger said. “We got some pretty good challenges in front of us but I think the boys are pretty battle tested at this point. We’ve played against a lot of the best teams in the state and we’ve competed well so it’s all going to come down to who plays the best this week.”

The Northstars will start the tournament Thursday at 7 p.m. with a game against the Calgary Strive. The Strive are the third seed from the Canadian division as they finished 6-6 in conference play and they went 13-7 overall during the regular season. This is the first time these teams have faced off this season, but Wirtzberger knows the Northstars will have their hands full to start the tournament.

“The first one is always kind of the toughest,” Wirtzberger said. “This Calgary team is going to be very good so we’re going to have to play our best game if we’re going to try and win the first one.”

The Northstars enter the weekend as the American No. 2 seed after going 8-4 in conference play and posting an overall record of 33-19-1 in the regular season. The Northstars have been playing some of their best ball lately as they are 12-2-1 in their last 15 games. But if they are going to keep that up this weekend, their best players need to continue their strong seasons.

Theron Peterson has made the most out of his senior season as he has recorded a .420 batting average, a .523 on-base percentage and 47 RBIs. Fellow senior Eli Cloninger has also been reliable at the plate with a .415 batting average, a .532 on-base percentage and 32 RBIs.

Brody Nanini will also look to continue his strong season both at the plate and on the mound. He has been a strong bat for the Northstars with a .409 batting average, a .515 on-base percentage and 59 RBIs. He has also pitched the most innings for Havre with a 2.731 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 20 walks this season.

Many other teams will begin the district tournament Thursday. At 10 a.m., the Lethbridge Miners and the Tri County Cardinals will get the tournament started. The Miners enter the tournament as the Canadian No. 2 seed after going 7-5 in conference play and recording an overall record of 16-15.

The Cardinals will enter districts as the American No. 3 seed with a 3-9 conference record and overall record of 7-17. The Northstars had success against both teams this season as they went 2-0 against the Miners and they went 4-1 against the Cardinals.

The tournament will continue at 1 p.m. with a contest between the Medicine Hat Knights and the Lewistown Redbirds. The Knights will look to upset the Redbirds since they are the Canadian No. 4 seed with a 3-9 conference record and a 14-32 overall record. The Knights just played a doubleheader against Havre this past weekend, which the Northstars swept by scores of 12-2 and 13-3.

The Redbirds should be one of the toughest teams in the tournament as the American No. 1 seed. During the regular season, the Redbirds went 11-1 in conference games and amassed an overall record of 37-19. Over the course of the season, the Northstars and Redbirds split their games 3-3.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, the Vauxhall Spurs and the Great Falls Chargers will face off. The Spurs have had a strong season as they went 8-4 in conference play and had a record of 24-8-2 to earn the Canadian No. 1 seed in this weekend’s tournament.

On the other hand, the Chargers will be the American No. 4 seed with a 2-10 conference record and a 16-48-1 record this season. During the regular season, the Northstars went 5-0 against the Great Falls Chargers.

With all these teams competing this weekend, the Northstars will need every advantage they can get. Since they are hosting the tournament this weekend, Wirtzberger hopes that gives the Northstars the edge.

“I know the boys are excited to play in front of their home crowd one last time this season. Hopefully it gives them a little bit of energy,” Wirtzberger said. “I know we’re familiar with our place, obviously, and it will be good to be able to sleep in our own beds, so hopefully we can take advantage of that.”

But even with home field advantage, the Northstars will still need to be at the top of their game this weekend. The Northstars’ bats have been behind their success the past few weeks, so if they can keep up their offensive production, the Northstars should be a contender for the district title.

“If we can hit the ball, we’re going to be just fine,” Wirtzberger said. “Hitting with runners in scoring position is going to be huge. We have to cash those runners in when we get those opportunities.”

The North A District Tournament will begin Thursday at 10 a.m. with a game between the Lethbridge Miners and the Tri County Cardinals. The Northstars will start playing at 7 p.m. with a game against the Calgary Strive.

Havre Northstars ready to host district tournament

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