By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn't Trent Normandy's best pitching performance of the season, but he made up for it with his bat. Normandy slapped a base hit scoring Patch Wirtzberger in the bottom of the seventh to give the Havre Comets a 6-5 win over the Tri-County Cardinals.
Besides picking up the game winning hit, Normandy shook off some control problems to get the win on the mound and salvage a split in the doubleheader.
"Trent didn't pitch as well as he has lately," said Comets head coach Bob Evans. "He was trying to be a little too fine with his pitches."
Although he walked only four batters, Normandy went deep in counts to several batters.
"He threw a lot of pitches," Evans said. "Trent needs to trust his stuff and defense a little more."
Still, Normandy was good enough to win the game, with a little help from some timely Comet hitting.
Havre grabbed a quick 2-0 in the first inning as Normandy tripled home Patch Wirtzberger and Jordon Patterson scored Normandy with a single.
Tri-County trimmed the lead picking up a run in the top of the fourth. In the fifth inning, the Cardinals exploded for four runs thanks to a pair of walks, three singles and an error.
"We didn't do a very good job of helping Trent out in that inning," Evans said. "When our pitching is struggling, we need to do a better job of making plays."
However, if the Comets are used to one thing, it's coming from behind. A triple by Jeff Tibbals started off the fifth inning and he scored as Wirtzberger drove him in to narrow the lead to 5-3. Havre got another run an inning later as Bret Magelssen knocked in Mike Olson to cut the lead to one.
With the Comets rallying, Normandy got stronger on the mound as he struck out four of the seven batters he faced in the final two innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tibbals collected his sixth hit of the day to lead off the inning. Wirtzberger drove in Tibbals to tie the game. A sacrifice bunt by Tony Christian advanced Wirtzberger to second, setting up Normandy's heroics.
"We hung in there and fought our way back into the game," Evans said.
Normandy, Tibbals, Wirtzberger and Kaare Engebretson each had a pair of hits in the game.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Tri-County scored nine runs in the second inning thanks to six hits, two walks and a hit batsman off of Comet starter Tyson Anderson. The big inning gave the Cardinals a 10-0 lead and they never looked back as they defeated the Comets 14-7.
"We made some costly errors in the game," Evans said. "You can't do that and expect to win."
Besides the fielding errors, the Comets also had some baserunning mistakes that hurt them as well. Havre pounded out 17 hits in the game, but managed just seven runs which bothered Evans.
"Anytime you have that many hits, you should score more runs," Evans said. "We made some baserunning mistakes and they also made some nice plays defensively that ended big innings."
Offensively, Havre was led by Tibbals, who had four hits including a triple and an RBI. The diminutive shortstop finished with six hits, four runs scored and two RBIs on the day.
"Jeff has been so tough lately," Evans said. "He is hitting the ball and playing great at shortstop."
Coda Tchida and Patterson each had three hits for the Comets while Magelssen and Christian chipped in with a pair of hits.
The Comets return to action today as they travel to Great Falls to take on the Stallions A squad in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. at Don Olson Memorial Field.
Tri-County Cardinals 190 030 1 - 14 9 1
Havre Comets 002 212 0 - 7 17 5
Gordon (WP) and Pyette; Tyson Anderson (LP), Ben Erickson (3), Tony Christian (4) and Patch Wirtzberger.
CARDINALS - Pyette 1-2, Zell 0-5, Alford 2-5, Smith 2-4, Gordon 2-4, Tokerud 1-5, Christians 0-2, Rosenberger 0-3, Styren 1-5.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 4-5, Patch Wirtzberger 1-4, Tony Christian 2-4, Coda Tchida 3-3, Jordon Patterson 3-4 (2 RBI), Kaare Engebretson 1-4, Bret Magelssen 2-3, Trent Normandy 0-1, Ben Erickson 1-3 (2 RBI), Bryden Vukasin 0-1, Eric Fanning 2-4.
2B - Magelssen, Erickson
3B - Tibbals
Tri-County Cardinals 000 140 0 - 5 6 0
Havre Comets 200 011 2 - 6 10 2
Trent Normandy (WP) and Mike Olson.
CARDINALS - Pyette 2-4, Zell 1-4, Alford 2-3, Smith 0-4, Gordon 1-4, Tokerud 0-4, Christians 0-3, Rosenberger 0-2, Styren 2-2
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 2-3, Patch Wirtzberger 2-4 (RBI), Tony Christian 0-2, Trent Normandy 2-4 (2 RBI), Jordon Patterson 2-3 (RBI), Kaare Engebretson 2-3, Mike Olson 0-2, Bret Magelssen 1-2, Bryden Vukasin 0-2, Chase Castloo 1-1.
2B - Alford 2
3B - Normandy, Tibbals