By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
Three things were constant in the Havre Northstars' three home games this past weekend - good pitching, and inconsistent hitting and fielding. The Havre Comets, however, experienced the opposite against their older cohorts in their only home game this past weekend.
On Saturday night, the Comets picked up a rare 8-4 win over the Northstars at Legion Field in Havre. The Comets were guided to victory via a solid pitching performance by Trent Normandy, who went the distance, giving up just three earned runs while scattering eight hits and striking out four in the nine-inning contest.
Besides Normandy's outstanding game on the mound, the Comets were the beneficiaries of a five-run first inning in which the Northstars' Tyler Thompson walked three batters and gave up two singles, which allowed the Comets to put up the insurmountable lead. The Comets also tacked on runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, as they pounded out 12 hits in all.
"The Comets played really well against us on Saturday night," said Northstar head coach Mickey Williams. "Trent (Normandy) pitched really well and they hit the ball well. On top of that, we just didn't hit the ball at all and we made way too many errors."
Jordon Patterson had a solid game at the plate going 3-4 and driving in a pair of runs. Ben Erickson was also 3-4 and scored a pair of runs for the Comets. The Northstars were led by Daine Solomon and Chazz Hurlburt, who each had a pair of hits and an RBI.
On Sunday afternoon, the Northstars returned to Legion Field to square off against the Class A Medicine Hat Knights and the theme of poor hitting that started on Saturday night continued for Havre on Sunday. However, the Northstars got two solid outings from Brandon Morse and Cory Junck on the mound that led to a pair of victories over the Knights in the double header.
In game one, Morse was outstanding on the hill for the Northstars, as he allowed no earned runs, while giving up just three hits and striking out four en route to a 2-1 decision. Havre again did not hit the ball particularly well but did manage to scrape together two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Ian Spencer led off the inning with a double. He scored on a Steve Heberly single to give the Northstars the first run of the game. Havre added the winning run as Solomon drove in Heberly. The Knights managed to pull within one run in the sixth inning as Morse's shutout bid was ended.
"Brandon Morse pitched really well for us in the first game," Williams said. "He was in control, and we played a lot better defensively than we did against the Comets the night before, and that helped us get a win."
Havre was led by Spencer, who finished with a pair of hits, while Heberly and Solomon each added RBI singles.
In the second game, the Northstars once again rode their starting pitching, as Cory Junck guided Havre to a close 4-3 win, to earn a sweep of the Knights. Junck went the distance for Havre, scattering six hits in seven innings while striking out five and giving up just three earned runs. The Northstars fell behind in the first inning 1-0, but they came alive to score three runs in fourth, as Tyler Thompson, Levi Briese and Dusty Heath all singled and scored in the inning to give Havre a 3-1 lead.
Medicine Hat responded in the following inning to score on back-to-back singles to tie the game at 3-3, but the Northstars came right back to score the winning run as Mark Benjamin scored on Levi Briese's fielder's choice to preserve the close win.
Dusty Heath led the Northstars with a pair of hits and an RBI, while Solomon added a pair of hits.
While Williams admitted that the two-game sweep of the Knights wasn't his team's best effort offensively, he was glad to escape with two conference wins.
"We just aren't hitting the ball consistently right now," Williams said. "But we're not going to panic yet, because our bats always come around.
"We did get some really good pitching this weekend and that was good," Williams added. "This is one of those weekends where we'll just be glad we go two wins and now we'll try to regroup."
The Northstars will be in action again when they visit the Knights for a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon. Havre will also play a doubleheader against conference foe Vauxhall in Canada on Wednesday afternoon.
Havre Northstars 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 - 4 8 3
Havre Comets 5 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 X - 8 12 2
Tyler Thompson (LP), Ian Spencer (4) and Adam Jensen; Trent Normandy (WP) and Mike Olson, Patch Wirtzberger.
NORTHSTARS - Steve Heberly 0-3, Bobby Bergren 1-2, Adam Jensen 0-4, Daine Solomon 2-3 (1RBI), Cory Junck 0-4, Chazz Hurlburt 2-5 (1 RBI), Dusty Heath 0-4, Levi Briese 0-3, Mark Benjamin 1-4 (1 RBI), Tyson Roe 1-4.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-4, Kaare Engebretson 1-3, Coda Tchida 1-4, Trent Normady 1-5, Jordon Patterson 3-4 (2 RBI), Ben Erickson 3-4, Mike Olson 0-0, Patch Wirtzberger 0-2, Eric Fanning 1-3 (1 RBI), Bret Magelssen 0-1.
2B - Patterson, Tchida
3B - none
HR - none
Medicine Hat Knights 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1 3 0
Havre Northstars 0 0 2 0 0 0 X - 2 8 1
Brandon Morse (WP) and Daine Solomon; Rittinger (LP) and Muryn.
KNIGHTS - Coeharn 1-4, Muryn 0-3, Lewis 1-2, Smeby 0-1, Rittinger 0-1, Prosser 0-3, Patience 1-3, Hitchen 0-3, Reeder 0-3.
NORTHSTARS - Heberly 2-3 (1 RBI) Jensen 0-3, Solomon 1-3 (1 RBI), Hurlburt 1-3, Thompson 1-3, Junck 0-1, Briese 0-2, Heath 0-1, Benjamin 1-3, Spencer 2-2.
2B - Spencer
3B - Patience,
HR - none
Medicine Hat Knights 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 - 3 6 2
Havre Northstars 0 0 0 3 1 0 X - 4 8 2
Camron, Hitchens (LP) and Muryn; Junck (WP) and Briese.
KNIGHTS - Coehorn 0-1, Muryn 1-2, Lewis 2-4, Smeby 1-4, Pettinger 0-3, Prosser 0-2, Patience 0-3, Simons 1-2, Reintoul 1-3.
NORTHSTARS - Heberly 0-4, Jensen 0-3, Solomon 2-3 Hurlburt 2-3, Benjamin 0-1, Thompson 1-2, Levi Briese 0-3 (1 RBI), Heath 2-3 (1 RBI), Bergren 1-2 (1 RBI), Roe 0-2 (1 RBI).
2B - Solomon
3B - none
HR - none