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Bozeman Bucks set to host 2020 Heroes Park 'AA' Invitational

Bucks Host 2020 Heroes Park Invitational
Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 25, 2020

BOZEMAN — This weekend 10 different baseball teams are playing in a tournament in Bozeman, five of those teams being from different states. After the tournament cancellation last weekend in Missoula, the coaches are just happy to be playing.

“Those guys were above and beyond following the requirements and putting safety ahead of everything," said Belgrade Bandits head coach Johnny Graham. "I thought they did just a terrific job in Missoula, so it was a disappointment that it got shut down at the time that it did.”

With the Missoula tournament being shut down, some of the out-of-state teams questioned if the tournament in Bozeman was going to happen.

“I was kind of worried about that -- looks like we’re a go here and we’re going to do everything possible to keep safe and also play some baseball,” said Stephen Hansen, head coach of the Trappers out of Mountain Crest, Utah.

Bozeman Bucks head coach Garrett Schultz has been working with Gallatin County to make sure they are in compliance with the Phase 2 directive.

“We’re doing all the things we’ve been doing," Schultz said. "Our county health has been a pretty good partner collaborating with us and we’re ready to roll.”

With the tournament going on, the teams from out of state were happy to see the beauty that Bozeman has to offer.

“We haven't been out of Utah yet this year and coming up here to Bozeman, beautiful country, nice cool weather, and we’re ready to play some baseball,” said Hansen.

The team from Grand Junction, Colorado drove a whopping 10 hours to make it to this weekend's tournament, but it was worth it.

“This is the first time we’ve ever been up this direction, my second time in Montana, we really enjoyed the drive," said Grand Junction head coach Dave Jahnke. "It was a long drive, it was 10 hours, but really enjoyed it."

For Grand Junction, it's had to cancel a few games already this year, and this tournament is its first real in-game action.

“We've been practicing for three or four weeks now and the kids are really eager to get out on the field and play somebody else other than themselves,” said Jahnke.

For Graham and everybody else participating, it’s nice to have some normalcy while enjoying America’s pastime.

“To be playing baseball in summertime, that’s what’s you’re supposed to be doing in the summertime," he said. "I'm really happy for the kids in these states that are allowed to play, being allowed to play.”