By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
Any time you score more than 10 runs in the game, you feel like you have a pretty good chance of winning. But the key is holding the opposing team to under 10 runs, and the Havre Comets couldn't do that on Tuesday afternoon in Conrad.
Despite scoring 11 runs in the first game and 13 in the second, the Comets were swept in a Northern District doubleheader by the Tri-County Cardinals.
Outs were hard to come by in the doubleheader as the two teams combined for total of 51 runs and 58 hits in the two games.
"There wasn't much pitching from either team," said Comets head coach Bob Evans. "Our pitching wasn't very good at all. We couldn't get outs when we needed them."
In the first game, Evans started Patch Wirtzberger hoping to steal some innings from him to rest his much-used pitching staff. Wirtzberger kept the Comets in the game, pitching four innings and allowing six runs.
The Comet bats also kept them in the game as they scored seven runs in the first four innings, including a four-run third inning. Trent Normandy's two run triple and an RBI single from Jordon Patterson highlighted the inning.
Havre took a 10-6 lead in the top of the fifth as Ben Erickson and Kaare Engebretson smacked RBI doubles and Jeff Tibbals added an RBI single.
With Wirtzberger tiring, Evans went to Tyson Anderson in relief and the Cardinals promptly greeted him, scoring six runs in the fifth inning to retake the lead at 12-10.
Tri-County pounded Anderson for four hits and four runs in the inning and Evans went to Chase Castloo to stop the bleeding. But Tri-County still picked up a pair of hits to add two more runs. Havre fought back to narrow the game to one as Erickson drove in Coda Tchida.
But the Cardinals added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and Luke Alford shut out the Comets the rest of the way to pick up a 13-11 win.
Havre was led offensively by Patterson and Engebretson, who had three hits and two RBIs apiece. Normandy and Erickson chipped in with two hits and two RBIs each.
The nightcap featured more of the same as neither team could pull away and both traded leads throughout.
With Tri-County leading 5-3 going into the top of the fourth inning, the Comet bats got hot. Havre scored seven runs in the inning on five hits with the big blow coming from Normandy, who belted a grand slam home run. Castloo drove in a pair of runs with a double and Wirtzberger added an RBI single in the inning as the Comets went up 10-5
But the Comet lead disappeared an inning later. After adding a run in the bottom of the fourth, the Cardinals scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth as Alford slammed a three-run home run off of reliever Ben Erickson, who had walked the bases loaded to open the inning.
Havre tied the game at 11 in the as Patterson scored on a hit from Bret Magelssen. Evans went to Normandy to preserve the one-run lead, but the Cardinals got to the Comet ace, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth retaking a 14-11 lead.
The Comets, who have come from behind in the last inning in multiple games this season, tried to do it again. Tibbals led off the inning with a double and scored on a Normandy single. Wirtzberger scored later on a Tchida single to cut the lead to one. But the Comet rally ended there.
Normandy finished with two hits and five RBIs while Castloo and Wirtzberger each drove in a pair of runs.
"Our pitchers couldn't get their 7-8-9 hitters out," Evans said. "We walked them and hit them with pitches. Those are outs we should get."
Besides pitching woes, the Comets continue to hurt themselves with baserunning mistakes.
"We are just not fundamentally a good baserunning team and I don't how to make us better." Evans said. "Those mistakes cost a run here and a run there and that cost us the ballgame.
"These were games we should win," Evans added. "We didn't make the plays on offense or defense we needed to. You have to be able to make plays in crunch time."
The Comets return to action tonight as they host the Fort MacLeod Royals in a doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. at Legion Field.
Havre Comets 204 131 0 - 11 15 2
Tri-County Cardinals 230 161 X - 13 15 5
Patch Wirtzberger, Tyson Anderson, Chase Castloo and Mike Olson, Wirtzberger; Alford and Pyette. WP - Alford, LP - Anderson.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 2-4, Patch Wirtzberger 1-3, Coda Tchida 3-5, Trent Normandy 2-4 (2 RBI), Jordon Patterson 3-4 (2 RBI), Ben Erickson 2-4 (2 RBI), Mike Olson 0-3, Chase Castloo 0-1, Kaare Engebretson 3-4 (2 RBI), Eric Fanning 0-2, Tony Christian 1-2.
CARDINALS - Pyette 2-4 (3 RBI), Zell 3-4 (3 RBI), Alford1-4 (3 RBI), Smith 0-3, Gordon 2-4 (RBI), Pinckard 0-2, Styren 0-2, Tokerud 2-4, Syndyer 2-3, 1-2 (2 RBI).
2B - Tchida, Patterson, Erickson, Engebretson 2, Zell, Gordon
3B - Normandy, Pyette
HR - Alford
Havre Comets 102 701 2 - 13 14 1
Tri-County Cardinals 320 153 X - 14 14 1
Tony Christian, Ben Erickson (4) and Trent Normandy (6) and Patch Wirtzberger; Wersgrom, Snyder and Pyette. WP - Sluter, LP - Erickson.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 2-3 (RBI), Bret Magelssen 1-2, Tony Christian 1-1, Ben Erickson 1-2, Patch Wirtzberger 1-4 (2 RBI), Trent Normandy 2-4 (5 RBI), Jordon Patterson 2-4, Coda Tchida 2-3, Tyson Anderson 0-2, Bret Magelssen 2-4 (RBI), Chase Castloo 2-4 (2 RBI)
CARDINALS - Pyette 1-5, Zell 3-4, Alford 3-4, Smith 1-4, Gordon 3-3, Wesgrom 0-1, Snyder 0-4, Tokerud 3-4, Sluter 1-3, Kos 0-2.
2B - Tibbals, Christian, Castloo, Zell
3B - none
HR - Normandy, Alford