MISSOULA – Two Missoula-based all-star teams are advancing to the next round of the Little League World Series after winning their state tournaments.

The 13/14-year-old Garden City All-Stars defeated Billings 17-1 in the championship game on Thursday, adding on to their 27-0 beatdown victory on Wednesday night. The Junior League team will travel to Tucson, Arizona for the West Regional tournament beginning on July 20.

For five members of the team, it was an extension of the high school softball season. Though most have been playing or practicing softball at some capacity since December, head coach Brent Weisgram wants to keep his team fresh heading into the regional.

“It’s been a long road, so we just need to mentally stay up and not burn out and slow down, so we’ll have them mentally prepared,” said Weisgram. “At this point, physically they all know how to play the game real well. They’re real solid, so it’s just a mental thing. And it’s keeping the excitement up.

Story continues below

“We have a theme each week and each game that we talk about, and the biggest one that I always say is, ‘We’ve got to have fun.’ Because when we’re having fun, that’s what we’re doing it for, and that’s why we do it.”

As for the 11/12-year-old All-Stars, they claimed the Montana state title with a 29-1 victory against Billings on Saturday afternoon. The group of younger Garden City All-Stars will begin play in the West Regional on July 21 against Hawaii in San Bernardino, California.

Missoula’s Senior-level all-star team will also represent Montana in their regional. The Zootown All-Stars open the tournament as the host team against Southern California on July 21 at 9 a.m. Games will be played throughout Sunday evening at the Dale Clawson Complex in Missoula.