Mavs’ Mills is a bundle of energy, advice

Abe Winter
Star Columnist

Jake Mills is as energetic a baseball coach as I’ve ever seen at the American Legion ranks.

He’s always conversing with players, seemingly talking strategy and offering advice after miscues. And even though he’s departing Mikes City — basically going home to Burley (Idaho) High School — don’t discount the fact that he might return next summer to coach the Mavericks.

“It’s my first year and I think they took a chance on hiring me,” he said. “I’d like to come back.”

One reason: “The support from the parents has been unbelievable,” Miles said, then added the community and Miles City Youth Baseball Association to the list.

“We’re bummed,” said Sue Bellows, whose sons Jared and Jess are two of the talented players on the team. “Absolutely, we’d like him to come back.”

Even though I sometimes wonder about his strategy, especially with bunting by the middle of the lineup, I have enjoyed many of his games and was looking forward to the Eastern A District at Connors Stadium this weekend.

Hopefully, he will return next summer and beyond. If not, he could be hard to replace.



— Some of you may not realize it, but Miles City is pretty serious about its soccer. The upcoming soccer camp, scheduled July 31 to August 4, for ages 3-19 will feature yet-to-be-named coaches from Britain and Brazil.

In the message from camp coordinator Keeli Muscha to players, friends and siblings of the Miles City Youth Soccer Association, it states: “British and Brazilian coaches come completely prepared to provide your soccer players with an amazing week of soccer camp.”

— If the Eastern A District championship round requires two games, that would total 13 games in this weekend’s Eastern A District American Legion Baseball Tournament at Connors Stadium. The 13th game, if necessary, would be played at 1 p.m. Monday.

Based on the regular season scores, fans should realize these may not be typical tourney games. That is, instead of 2-1 and 3-2 results, you can expect a lot of runs. In fact, I’d say more games would be closer to 7-6 and 10-9.

As soon as I say that, the opening game was 4-2 with Dawson County beating the Billings Blue Jays. And after an 8-7 victory by the Billings Cardinals over Sidney, the Mavericks won 4-0 despite issuing 10 walks. Two games took less than two hours to complete and I’d love to see more of the same, especially in this heat.

But we’ll see. Three games have been played and there are three more today, four Saturday and two more Sunday.

One thing is certain: Laurel is the big favorite, but the host Mavericks have improved immensely since May. We’ll see if it’s enough to get them to the State tourney next week in Three Forks.

— It seems like forever since we’ve seen the Outlaws Varsity play in Miles City. But they’ll be at Tedesco Field for doubleheaders Saturday against Sturgis, South Dakota, starting at 1 p.m. and Sunday against Billings at 4 p.m.

It’s a change in the schedule with Casper, Wyoming, not coming for the four games originally planned.

By the way, the Outlaws last played at home on June 4. Since then, they’ve played at Lovell, Wyoming; at Williston; at Sturgis; at Great Falls; at Los Angeles; at Rapid City, and at Pullman, Washington.

The final road trip is to Cheyenne, Wyoming, Aug. 5-11 for the CABA World Series.

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)