15U ALL-STARS WIN STATE, SET SIGHTS ON REGIONALS
By J. Levi Burnfin Courier Sports
Published: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
he future of Valley County baseball looks bright as the Hi-Line 15U All-Star team followed the 12U second-place finish at state with a 15U state championship. The 15U All-Stars beat host-team Kalispell twice at the state tournament on July 19-22 for the title and the right to move on to the Pacific Northwest Babe Ruth 15U Regional Tournament in Kelso, Wash. on July 30-Aug. 4.
The team also beat Mission Valley, Belgrade and Bitteroot in the state tournament.
Several of Hi-Line players are used to this kind of success. The 15-year-olds on the team also won a state championship as 13-year-olds and another as 12-year-olds. So expectations were understandably high this year.
The team has responded well as they have yet to lose a game in tournament play.
They went undefeated in both the district tourney in Sidney and the state tournament. They hope to continue that streak.
“We are not there just to show up, we are there to win games,” said coach Greg Page. “We have a simple philosophy, we don't worry about the team names or where they're coming from. We just try to take care of playing the ball and do what we can control and hopefully if we do the little things right, we'll come out on top.”
That philosophy has worked so far. But the competition will take another step up this week as regional teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and British Columbia will undoubtedly be tough to beat.
Team Montana, as the Hi-Line team is now listed, is part of the National Division as the ten teams in the tournament are split into two separate divisions, the american and national divisions. Each division will participate in a round robin with the top two teams from each division moving on to a single-game elimination tournament. The top American Division team will take on the second National Division team in one semi-final while the top National Division team will take on the second American Division team in the other. The two winning teams will meet in the championship game for the right to move on to the Babe Ruth 15U World Series in Van Buren, Ark starting August 16.
Team Montana will begin round-robin play with a match-up against Idaho on Monday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m. They will then face Wyoming on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., British Columbia on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and South Washington on Thursday. They will then have an off day on Friday if they are in the top two of their division before participating in a semi-final game on Saturday.
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