By Gabrielle Gasser
Photos by Dave Pecunies
MILES CITY, Montana – On Sunday, July 11, the Belgrade Bandits All-Star baseball team won the 12U Montana State Championship.
The team of 12 kids competed in the three-day, double-elimination tournament and emerged undefeated. They clinched their win on Sunday with a 4-1 victory over the Gallatin Outlaws.
“I’ve worked with this AllStar team for the last four years, through blood, sweat, and tears,” wrote head coach Matt Morris in an email to EBS. “Our goal has always been to win the State Tournament. It all came together in Miles City this past weekend. I could not be more proud of the boys and their efforts.”
Morris is joined by two other coaches Travis Hazen and Ryan Trenka.
Now, the team is headed to Meridian, Idaho on July 21 for the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament. The games will kick off Thursday, July 22 and the champion will be named on Sunday, July 25.
At the tournament will be all the state champions from the Pacific Northwest Region, which encompasses Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Oregon, South Oregon, North Washington and South Washington as well as Canadian provinces Alberta and British Columbia.
This tournament will feature pool play with all teams being sorted into pools of four and playing the other three teams in their pool. Based on the results of that play, teams are seeded and placed in a bracket for the single elimination tournament.
“Now, we have the chance to play some of the best teams in the Pacific Northwest and truly test our talents against big cities with more conducive baseball weather,” said Morris. “Not bad for a ski town!”
After the regional tournament, the next step would be the World Series tournament which takes place in Branson, Missouri from August 5 through the 14.
Morris said that it would be amazing for the boys to continue advancing and win the regional tournament but they are very happy to have achieved their goal of winning State.
“We played solid defense, pitched well and had timely hitting to bring the title home,” he said. “It is an experience we all will never forget and something to be extremely proud of.”