By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
In terms of aesthetic beauty, Wednesday night's Comets-Northstars encounter at Legion Field was anything but. In fact, at times it was downright ugly.
Both teams combined for 10 errors, six unearned runs, a wild pitch and a balk. Through all of the miscues and missed opportunities, the Havre Northstars prevailed 11-5.
"It was really ugly," said Northstars head coach Mickey Williams. "We need to start playing more games instead of one game a week. We just haven't been on the field much. We've practiced on the field once since we played the Comets last time."
The Northstars collected 14 hits and took advantage of seven Comet errors to pick up their second conference win on the season and improve their record to 6-5 on the season.
"We just didn't play very well," said Comets coach Bob Evans. "We were throwing to the wrong bases and wrong places."
The Northstars' 14 hits were a bit deceiving because they were all singles, which is something that didn't please Williams.
"We had 14 hits but it didn't feel like it," he said. "We didn't the ball hard at all."
While the hits might not have been lasers, they were timely. After picking up a pair of unearned runs in the first three innings, the Northstars collected five singles in the fifth inning scoring, five runs which gave them an 8-0 lead.
But the Comets had their hands in the Northstar success. Some key throwing errors in the first two innings gave the Northstars runs and some more throwing errors in the fourth and fifth innings gave the Northstars additional at-bats and free bases.
"They're a veteran club," Evans said of the Northstars. "If you make mistakes like we did, they're going to capitalize on them."
As sloppy as the Comets played early, they showed a little fight after giving up the big inning. They rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth as Northstar shortstop Cory Junck's throwing error gave the Comets an extra opportunity. Jeff Tibbals short single through the right side scored a pair of runs to trim the lead to 8-2.
Not to be outdone, the Northstars scored three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of three Comet errors, a wild pitch and a passed ball. However, the Comets managed to escape the inning trailing 11-2, which forced the game to continue.
In the top of the seventh, the Comets scored three more runs, taking advantage of a pair of walks on RBI singles from Ben Erickson and Patch Wirtzberger.
But the mistakes of the first few innings were too much to overcome as the Northstars held out for the win.
"I was proud of our kids," Evans said. "They came back hard. They made some good plays late in the game. The last two or three innings they played really well."
Chazz Hurlburt picked up the win for the Northstars, pitching six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits while striking out four, and walking none.
"Chazz did a good job of getting ahead in the count," Williams said. "He didn't walk anyone which is good because walks can be dangerous. For as sporadic as our games have been, our pitching has been pretty good."
Ben Erickson picked up the loss allowing five earned runs and giving up 12 hits. But the numbers were a bit deceiving as he kept the Northstars from registering any big hits.
"Ben did a good job of changing speeds on us," Williams said. "We didn't really anything hard off of him."
The Northstars were led offensively by Daine Solomon, who picked up three hits and scored three runs. Ian Spencer added a single and three RBIs while Bobby Bergren and Tyson Roe each added RBIs.
The Comets got a 2-5 performance from Wirtzberger while Tibbals and Erickson had RBI singles.
Both teams will meet for the final time in the regulars season on Saturday night at 7 p.m. to make up a game that was rained out earlier. The Northstars will also be in action on Sunday against the Medicine Hat Knights in a Northern A district doubleheader at 1 p.m.
Havre Comets 000 002 300 - 5 8 7
Havre Northstars 100 253 00X - 11 14 3
Ben Erickson (LP), Jason Tibbals (3) and Patch Wirtzberger; Chazz Hurlburt (WP), Steve Heberly (3) and Levi Briese, Daine Solomon.
HAVRE COMETS (3-11) - Patch Wirtzberger 2-5 (1 RBI), Kaare Engebretson 0-3, Mike Olsen 0-2, Tyson Anderson 0-2, Jeff Tibbals 1-2 (1 RBI), Trent Normandy 1-4, Jordon Patterson 0-4, Coda Tchida 1-3, Bret Magelssen 0-2, Bryden Vukasin 0-1, Eric Fanning 1-2, Chase Castloo 1-2, Ben Erickson 1-4 (1 RBI).
HAVRE NORTHSTARS (6-5) - Steve Heberly 2-5 (1RBI), Brandon Morse 1-4, Chazz Hurlburt 0-1, Daine Solomon 3-4, Cory Junck 1-4, Tyler Thompson 2-5, Levi Briese 2-2, Ian Spencer 1-2 (3 RBI), Dusty Heath 0-2, Bobby Bergren 1-4 (1 RBI) Tyson Roe 2-3 (1 RBI), Adam Jensen 0-1.
2B - Normandy, Castloo
3B - none
HR - none