HELENA -- Live sports are back in Montana.
MTN Sports has confirmed that the Helena Senators and Missoula Mavericks are set for a baseball game at Kindrick Legion Field in Helena on Wednesday. Mavs coach Brent Hathaway said the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The coronavirus pandemic has halted sports in Montana the past two months. The Montana High School Association canceled its state basketball tournaments on March 13 and then eventually canceled its entire spring sports season. American Legion Baseball canceled its affiliate seasons nationwide earlier this month, but Montana's Legion programs have made plans to continue playing this summer. Senators manager Jon Burnett said they're optimistic they "can play under the Montana American Legion Baseball kind of umbrella."
The Senators and Mavs will be the first teams to take the diamond this season, though the Bozeman Bucks did hold an intrasquad scrimmage last week. Bucks manager Garrett Schultz said Class AA teams will "play a seven-team AA conference schedule, play everybody four times, we will do a single-site state tournament.”
The Billings Scarlets and Royals are aiming to open their seasons against each other on May 30, and the Flathead Beacon reported the Kalispell Lakers and Whitefish-based Glacier Twins will open their seasons on May 23.
Phase 2 of Montana Governor Steve Bullock's plan to reopen the state, which begins June 1, will allow group gatherings of 50 people or less.
Though the Senators, Mavs, Bucks and other Class AA teams will play this season without the national Legion sponsorship, coaches have indicated the season will look a lot like Legion baseball. The season will be shortened, culminating with the state tournament in August. Along with its national cancellations, the American Legion has canceled all regional and national tournaments.
The Bucks were Montana's Class AA state champion last season, finishing one win away from advancing to the World Series.