HAVRE — Opening day of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament (NWCART) got underway Friday in Havre and Montana has two teams to represent the treasure state.
The Montana state champion Belgrade Bandits got a shutout win in their opening round against JNS Baseball of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The tournament host Havre Northstars also advanced through Round 1 with a shutout victory over the Ridgeline Wolverines of Utah.
Belgrade Bandits 5, Idaho Falls 0
It was a great pitching showing for the first few innings as the score remained 0-0 with just two hits, both coming from the Bandits.
The first run was scored in the bottom of the third when Aiden Kulbek grounded one to left field and Keenan Kraft used his speed to score from second. The Bandits' bats began to heat up in the fifth as they added three more runs, pushing the lead to 4-0 before eventually finishing with the shutout win.
Belgrade pitcher Gavin Waters pitched six innings, finishing with 11 strikeouts and giving up only two hits. The Bandits advance to the next round of the regional tournament and will face the Service Cougars of Alaska on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Havre Northstars 1, Ridgeline, Utah 0
In a game that was delayed due to weather and a power outage, Havre moved on with a 1-0 win over the Ridgeline Wolverines. The total game time was nearly five hours due to the delay and ended at nearly 1 a.m. on Saturday.
Kale Reno pitched 6 1/3 solid innings for Havre, striking out 11 while allowing four hits. Brody Nanini came on in relief in the seventh and got out of a bases-loaded one-out jam to end the game and preserve the shutout.
The Northstars scored the game's lone run in the bottom of the third on an RBI by Ezra Pyle, who had one of Havre's two hits.
Havre will face Powell, Wyo., in the second round on Saturday at 7 p.m. Powell defeated Redmond Sunwest of Oregon 2-1 earlier Friday.