By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
You can overcome a lot of things in baseball, but not being able to throw strikes consistently is next to impossible. The Havre Comets hit the ball well enough, played good enough defense but pitching problems plagued them all weekend as they finished 1-3 at the Medicine Hat Knights tournament.
After opening with an 14-1 win over Calgary on Friday, the Comets dropped a three straight games to close out the tournament.
"Our pitching wasn't there this weekend," said Comets coach Bob Evans. "We didn't throw enough strikes and gave out too many walks or hit batsmen."
The Comets broke open a 3-0 game against Calgary, scoring 11 runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull away. Kaare Engebretson drove in two runs with a double and Trent Normandy added a three-run triple in the big inning.
Havre starter Chase Castloo pitched a solid game, going the distance to pick up the win. Castloo overcame some early control issues to allow just one run on five hits while striking out seven.
"They weren't the toughest team," Evans said. "But Chase threw well and is getting back to where he was after his arm problems."
Havre pounded out 16 hits in the game. The Comets got three hits and three RBIs from Normandy while Ben Erickson also had three hits and three RBIs. Engebretson and Eric Fanning each drove in a pair of runs in the win.
From there, the Comets pitching went slowly downhill. They opened Saturday morning with 14-7 loss to their conference foe, the Vauxhall Spurs.
Jeff Tibbals took the loss for the Comets as Vauxhall came out swinging early.
"Jeff left the ball up a little too much in the zone," Evans said. "They were just sitting back and driving it."
The Comets picked up their second loss on Saturday as they fell to the Kalispell Lakers A squad 14-7.
Kalispell banged out five runs in the first inning off of starter Ben Erickson and scored eight more in the fifth inning off of Erickson and reliever Tony Christian. Havre hurt itself with four errors that led to six unearned runs in the game.
"Ben fell behind in too many counts," Evans said. "They were just keying on his fastball because they knew he had to throw a strike."
Havre wasn't bad offensively as Patch Wirtzberger had three hits and Jordon Patterson drove in two with a double. However, they couldn't quite overcome the lead.
"We are not the type of team who can give up more than five runs in two different innings," Evans said. "We don't have the hitting to do that. Those big innings put too much pressure on our hitters to overcome such big leads."
The Comets lost to another conference opponent, the Medicine Hat Knights, 8-4 on Sunday. Evans started his best pitcher Trent Normandy in on a limited pitch count because he will throw on Wednesday against Lethbridge.
"We wanted Trent to throw a little to stay sharp," Evans said. "We had him on a 40-pitch limit."
Normandy allowed three runs on three hits in three innings of work. He was relieved by Bret Magelssen, who will also start on Wednesday against the Miners. Magelssen struggled a little early on as he allowed four runs on five hits in the top of the fifth. He settled down to allow just one more run the rest of the game.
The Comets couldn't seem to get on track offensively. They were held scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when they scored four runs by taking advantage of a pair of Medicine Hat errors.
Things don't get any easier for the Comets. In their final six games of the regular season, they will face Lethbridge four times and Fort MacLeod twice.
"This is going to be a rough stretch," Evans said. "We need to pick up our level play and hopefully steal a couple wins in these games."
The Comets host Lethbridge on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Legion Field.
Calgary Blues 000 0 1 - 1 7 2
Havre Comets 012 11 X - 14 16 0
WP - Chase Castloo
BLUES - unavailable
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 2-4, Patch Wirtzberger 1-3, Coda Tchida 2-3 (RBI), Trent Normandy 3-3 (3 RBI), Jordon Patterson 0-3, Tyson Anderson 2-3 (RBI), Ben Erickson 3-3 (3 RBI), Kaare Engebretson 2-3 (2 RBI), Eric Fanning 1-3 (2 RBI).
2B - Normandy 2, Erickson
3B - Engebretson
HR - none
Kalispell Lakers 501 080 0 - 14 15 0
Havre Comets 103 030 0 - 7 8 4
LP - Erickson
LAKERS - unavailable
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 0-3, Patch Wirtzberger 3-4, Coda Tchida 1-3 (RBI), Trent Normandy 0-2, Jordon Patterson 1-2 (2 RBI), Tyson Anderson 0-2, Tony Christian 1-2 (RBI), Kaare Engebretson 1-2 (RBI), Bret Magelssen 1-3, Eric Fanning 0-4.
2B - Patterson
3B - Wirtzberger
HR - none
Medicine Hat Knights 012 040 1 - 8 10 2
Havre Comets 000 000 4 - 4 4 3
LP - Normandy
KNIGHTS - unavailable
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 0-2, Bret Magelssen 0-2, Patch Wirtzberger 0-2, Tyson Anderson 0-1 (RBI), Trent Normandy 0-3, Jordon Patterson 2-2, Coda Tchida 0-0, Kaare Engebretson 0-2, Tony Christian 0-1, Ben Erickson 2-3, Chase Castloo 0-3, Mike Olsen 0-3, Bryden Vukasin 0-2 (RBI).
2B - none
3B - none
HR - none