By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
This past weekend in Missoula, the Havre Northstars got a small taste of what to expect today. After dominating their first two games of the Missoula Mavericks tournament, the Northstars fell to their conference foe, the Lethbridge Miners, in a preview of tonight's critical doubleheader at Legion Field.
The Miners and Northstars currently sit 1-2 atop the Northern District standings and will hook up today for a pair of seven inning games that should decide the regular season champion in the conference.
"They have four losses and we have three," said Northstars head coach Mickey Williams. "Either way, we need to sweep our remaining games."
The Northstars saw their 11-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday when the Miners snapped it with an 8-2 win.
Lethbridge held Havre to just two runs in the third inning while exploding for five runs in the fifth inning and adding three more runs later in the game to pull away.
The Miners used six hits and capitalized on a Havre error to pick up the five runs off of Northstar starter Cory Junck.
"We were hitting the ball really well until that game," Williams said. "Their pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off balance and we hit the ball right at people."
Havre fought back in the top of third as Daine Solomon and Dusty Heath drove in a run each. However, the Northstars were held hitless the remainder of the game in the loss.
Junck took the loss going all seven and allowing seven earned runs on 12 hits. Solomon led the limited offensive attack with two hits and an RBI while Ian Spencer added a pair of doubles.
The loss soured a pair of explosive showings by the Northstars to open the tournament in which they scored a total of 33 runs and pounded out 31 hits in two games.
On Friday, Havre defeated the Gallatin Valley Outlaws for the fourth time this season with a 15-2 drubbing in five innings. Solomon drove in five runs on a pair of doubles and a single to lead the Northstar attack. Dusty Heath finished 3-4 with four RBIs while Junck had a pair of hits and 3 RBIs.
Brandon Morse picked up his seventh win of the season, going the distance and allowing just two earned runs on two hits while striking out seven.
The Northstars bats stayed hot later that night as they walloped the host Mavericks 18-1 in five innings. Havre pounded out 15 hits, including nine extra base hits in the offensive display.
Solomon was once again Havre's top hitter, going 3-3 with five RBIs including a run-scoring double, a two-run home run and a two-run triple. Heath, Spencer and Levi Briese drove in two runs each.
Havre also got a solid pitching performance from Tyler Thompson, who went the distance and allowed just one run and five hits in picking up his ninth win of the season.
After dropping the game to Lethbridge, Havre took out its frustrations on the Cour D'alene Loggers with 11-1 win in six innings.
Havre got a fine pitching performance from Chazz Hurlburt, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. However, the Loggers got three hits and a run in the last inning to end the no-hit bid.
The Northstars didn't wait til the last inning to get hits. Instead, they scattered out 13 hits in the game. Havre held a 6-0 lead going into the sixth inning, where they broke the game open with five runs on six hits, including a two-run double from Spencer.
On Sunday, the Northstars fell to the rival Bitterroot Red Sox for the third time this season. The game was back and forth as Havre grabbed leads but couldn't hold them.
Bitterroot, on the strength of four triples and two doubles, would prevail 6-5 as Kevin Curran drove in Kyle Melton in the bottom of the seventh to win the game.
The Northstars, who were playing without centerfielder Steve Heberly, had some problems defensively in the outfield.
"We took some poor angles to the ball and the field is so big that everything turned into a triple or double," Williams said. "Bitterroot has too much team speed to give them extra bases like that."
Spencer took the loss going all seven innings and allowing five earned runs on 10 hits. Havre was led offensively by Solomon, who had a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs. Heath and Junck each had RBIs in the loss.
"Overall, we played pretty well this weekend," Williams said. "We've been hitting the ball really hard for the most part. We just made a few mistakes in our two losses."
Tonight's doubleheader begins at 6 p.m. at Legion Field.
Gallatin Valley Outlaws 000 20 - 2 2 0
Havre Northstars 153 6X - 15 16 1
Anderson and Smith; Brandon Morse and Adam Jensen. WP - Morse, LP - Anderson
OUTLAWS - Corbin 0-2, Frost 0-1, Clark 0-2, Knowles 0-2, Chaffins 1-2, Smith 0-0, Marx 1-2, Smith 0-2, Darlinton 0-2, Oakes 0-1.
NORTHSTARS - Adam Jensen 1-3 (RBI), Mark Benjamin 2-4 (RBI), Daine Solomon 3-4 (5 RBI), Dusty Heath 3-4 (4 RBI), Tyson Roe 1-4, Ian Spencer 3-3, Tyler Thompson 2-3 (RBI), Chazz Hurlburt 0-3, Cory Junck 2-2 (3 RBI),
2B - Solomon 2, Jensen, Roe, Junck, Chaffins
3B - none
HR - none
Havre Northstars 10 04 31- 18 15 2
Missoula Mavericks 0 00 01 - 1 6 3
Tyler Thompson and Levi Briese; Fowler and Bitar. WP - Thompson, LP - Bitar.
NORTHSTARS - Adam Jensen 0-4, Mark Benjamin 2-3 (RBI), Daine Solomon 3-3 (5 RBI), Dusty Heath 1-3 (2 RBI), Tyson Roe 1-2, Ian Spencer 3-4 (2 RBI), Cory Junck 2-4 (RBI), Brandon Morse 1-4, Levi Briese 2-3 (2 RBI).
MAVERICKS - Johnson 1-3, Richards 1-3, Duncan 1-3, Dwyer 0-1, Wade 0-2, Sharkey 0-3, Bitar 0-2, Belet 1-2, Rutherford 1-2.
2B - Solomon, Roe, Spencer
3B - Solomon, Spencer, Briese 2
HR - Solomon
Lethbridge Miners 050 201 0 - 8 11 0
Havre Northstars 002 000 0 - 2 7 3
Mazurek and Smith; Cory Junck and Adam Jensen. WP - Mazurek, LP - Junck
MINERS - Smith 1-3, Troutman 2-3, Peters 1-3, Leclair 2-4, Balog 0-3, McLeod 1-4, Smith 1-4, Greenburg 1-4, Sedgewick 2-4.
NORTHSTARS - Adam Jensen 1-4, Mark Benjamin 1-3, Daine Solomon 2-3 (RBI), Dusty Heath 0-3 (RBI), Tyson Roe 0-3, Ian Spencer 2-3, Tyler Thompson 1-3, Chazz Hurlburt 0-3, Levi Briese 0-2.
2B - Spencer 2
3B - none
HR - none
Cour D'alene Loggers 000 001 - 1 3 3
Havre Northstars 021 305 - 11 13 0
Ladensuek and Braesch; Chazz Hurlburt and Levi Briese. WP - Chazz Hurlburt, LP - Ladensuek.
LOGGERS - Everson 1-3, Efta 1-3, Nelson 0-2, Winter 1-1, Kraighton 0-3, Walter 0-2, Braesch 0-2, Lewis 0-2, Rhodes 0-2, Roen 0-2.
NORTHSTARS - Adam Jensen 3-4, Mark Benjamin 1-4 (RBI), Daine Solomon 1-3, Dusty Heath 0-2 (2 RBI), Ian Spencer 2-3 (3 RBI), Tyler Thompson 1-4, Levi Briese 2-2, Cory Junck 3-4 (3 RBI), Brandon Morse 0-2 (RBI).
2B - Jensen 2, Briese, Junck 2,
3B - none
HR - none
Havre Northstars 102 200 0 - 5 9 3
Bitterroot Red Sox 102 200 1 - 6 10 1
Ian Spencer and Adam Jensen; Kreude and Ihde. WP - Kreude, LP - Spencer
NORTHSTARS - Adam Jensen 1-4, Mark Benjamin 1-3, Daine Solomon 2-4 (RBI), Dusty Heath 1-3 (RBI), Tyson Roe 0-4, Tyler Thompson 1-3, Levi Briese 0-3, Cory Junck 2-3 (RBI), Brandon Morse 1-3.
RED SOX - Melton 2-3, Fisk 1-3 (2 RBI), Franklin 2-3, Kreude 1-3 (RBI), Curran 1-4 (RBI), Tintzman 0-3, Ihde 2-3, Mousely 0-3, Henry 1-3
2B - Melton
3B - Melton, Franklin, Ihde, Henry
HR - none