The North Bitterroot Allstars captured the 2011 15yr Babe Ruth Baseball Montana State Title, beating Glendive 8-2 in the final game Monday, July 25th. Ten teams from around the state came together in Miles City to play in the annual classic that lasted six days. The format was double elimination and the Allstars would find themselves fighting through the loser’s bracket after a tough 12-14 loss to Glacier on Friday.
The team is comprised of 13 players from Stevensville, Florence and Victor. The North Bitterroot Allstars began their season by hosting a tournament in mid June and taking first place. They would go on to take first place in their next two tourneys in Hamilton and Kalispell. Through 13 games leading up to the July 15th District Tournament, played in Helena, the North Bitterroot Allstars had outscored opponents 139-42. The Allstars were undefeated at the District Tourney, earning a top seed at State. District opponents were South Bitterroot, Havre, Helena and Northern.
Duane Baney, Pat Reed and Kevin Beller coach the team. “We have a great group of young men and they have really come together as a team,” says coach Beller. “We are strong with the bats and go deep with pitching talent.”
At the State Tourney, North Bitterroot won their opener on Thursday, 8-6, versus Hiline (Glasgow and Plentywood). Brad Schaff relieved Noah Baney on the mound after the third inning and allowed no runs to score. Tyler Richtmyer had a 2-RBI double in the second inning to start the bats rolling. Jared Schultz was 3-4 with 3 singles. Kadin Beller was 2-3 with a single, double and 1 RBI. Noah Baney went 2-4 with 2 RBIs. Spencer Grooms had 2 RBIs.
On Friday they lost 12-14 to Glacier after a tornado watch alert and lightning delayed the game a couple times. Glacier was up 14-10 going into the bottom of the seventh and then with two outs North Bitterroot would score 2 runs and leave the tying run on second base to end the game.
“That was a tough loss,” says coach Beller, “especially after beating Glacier 13-8 at the Kalispell tourney earlier in the month. As a team our bats weren’t as strong that game. However, Brady Pickering and Chance Sage came off the bench to pinch-hit in the sixth inning and both singled and scored. That helped to get the team fired up.”
In the third game versus Belgrade on Saturday morning, home team North Bitterroot would find themselves down 6-7 going into the bottom of the seventh. Logan Lueck singled to right and Matt Kittel walked. A passed ball advanced both runners. Then with 1 out, shortstop Jared Schultz hit a hard shot to the right side to bring both runners home and end the game. Both Baney and Beller shared time on the mound. Lueck was 3-4 with 2 RBIs.
The fourth game versus Missoula was over in five innings with a final score of 14-3. Dylan Reed went 3-3 at the plate with 3 RBIs. Beller was 2-3 with a single, double and 3 RBIs.
With Glacier losing to Glendive on Saturday, that would set up a Sunday morning match between North Bitterroot and Glacier, with the loser going home and winner advancing to face an undefeated Glendive. All four of the Allstars’ pitchers (Baney, Schaff, Schultz and Beller) would share time on the mound before the game ended. North Bitterroot would post runs in six of the seven innings to beat Glacier, 19-10. Beller was hot with the bat, going 3-3 with a single, double, triple, sacrifice fly and 4 RBIs. Tyler Richtmyer also came through at the plate with 3 RBIs.
Next, North Bitterroot would face Glendive and get off to a slow start, falling behind 0-4 after two innings. Schaff came in to relieve Beller on the mound after three innings and would only give up 1 run in the final four innings of the game. The third inning is where the bats started working. Reed started it off with a single. Kittel moved him to second with a nice bunt. Jared Schultz singled up the middle to move Reed across the plate and break the ice. Beller singled and Schaff walked, which set up Baney to drive in 2 runs with a double down the right field line. At the end of the third, North Bitterroot was down one run. In the fourth inning, Kittel kept it going with a single to drive in Reed. Baney hit another 2-RBI double in the fourth. North Bitterroot went on to win, 15-6, setting up the championship game to be played Monday morning. Schaff 1-1, 4 walks; Jared Schultz 2-3, 2 RBIs; Baney 3-4, 4 RBIs; Reed 2-4.
In the final game versus Glendive, North Bitterroot again got off to a slow start, waiting until the third inning to score. Grooms walked. Reed reached base on a single to left. Kittel singled to the right-center gap and Grooms scored. With two runners on, Beller drove a deep shot to left to score both. Noah Baney kept Glendive guessing at the plate for all seven innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 unearned runs to help North Bitterroot secure the state title. Grooms 2-3; Reed 2-4, Kittel 1-3, 3 RBIs; Richtmyer 1-3, sacrifice fly. Nate Bishop and an injured Chase Malone round out the team.
“These boys have played as a team and continue to get better,” said Coach Pat Reed. “I expect them to do well at Regionals.”
“We hang up a familiar Notre Dame sign in the dugout before every game and everyone touches it,” said Coach Pat Baney. “It says ‘Play Like a Champion Today’ to remind each of us that we owe it to ourselves and our fans that we need to give it our best each time we step on the field.”
North Bitterroot Allstars now advance to the NW Regional Tourney in Vancouver, WA next week.