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Loggers battle their way to state tourney

| July 29, 2013 7:17 PM

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District Champs Germany

The fourth-seeded Loggers came home carrying a first-place district American Legion baseball trophy on Sunday after defeating the Missoula Mavericks 13-8.

Libby battled through the summer to reach the road to Helena with an overall record of 36-20.

“Obviously, not a whole lot of people thought we would go in and win this thing,” said Head Coach Kelly Morford. “It was a great win for the boys.”

The Libby Loggers rolled through the district baseball tournament in Eureka, knocking off higher-seeded teams Mission Valley (No. 1) and Missoula (No. 3) en route to the state bracket.

In the final games against Missoula, Libby maintained momentum as both teams came to realization of the state tournament within their reach with the top two positions.

“We knew going in that there were probably five teams qualified for making it to state, but we knew our chances were good,” Loggers Coach Kelly Morford said.

In the semifinal game against the Missoula Mavericks, winning pitcher Luke Haggerty took control on the mound, throwing the entire game with 136 pitches in an 11-6 victory.

The Mavs ended the first inning with a 3-1 lead that held until the Loggers scored  five runs in the third inning. Oliver Grupenhoff made a timely two-run homer that brought in teammate and first baseman Micah Germany, to follow up on three runs scored by Haggerty, Isaak Jones and Will Reichel for a 6-3 lead.

Logger shortstop Jared Winslow showed up for a home run of his own in the top of the fifth. The Mavericks answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to attempt a comeback that fell short. Haggerty scored again in the seventh ahead of Winslow, who got home on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Andrew Haggerty and extend the lead to 9-6. The Loggers scored twice more in the eighth to close out the game.

Grupenhoff finished the game batting 4-for-5 next to Germany, who batted 3-for-4, and Winslow, who batted 2-for-6, for a combined total of 8 of the team’s 10 RBIs that secured the Loggers spot in the state tournament.

Missoula battled out of the loser’s bracket to regain position in the championship game on Sunday, losing 13-8 against winning pitcher Will Reichel and the Loggers.

The No. 1 seeded Loggers from the West will play the South's No. 2 seeded Helena Reps at 7:30 on Thursday in Helena.