By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn't a perfect weekend, but the Havre Northstars will take it. The Northstars played some of their best baseball of the season as they rolled up a 4-1 record at the Luzenac Memorial Tournament in Three Forks this past weekend.
In four games, the Northstars faced top competition from around the state and proved themselves to be Class A state tournament contenders with their showing.
"Every team we faced should make the state tournament," said Northstars coach Mickey Williams. "We beat up on some really good teams. We played extremely well considering we played nine games in just over a week and considering how short-handed we are."
The Northstars finished the tournament with just nine players and a couple of those nine were beat up. Chazz Hurlburt has been gone for a wedding since the Havre Baseball Jamboree, Bobby Bergren reinjured his knee and has not played since then as well. Catcher/outfielder Levi Briese left in the middle of the tournament to compete in the Down Under Bowl in Australia.
In its first game of the tournament on Friday, Havre opened with a 10-1 drubbing of the tournament host Gallatin Valley Outlaws, 10-1, in a rain-shortened six-inning game.
Tyler Thompson was stellar on the mound, allowing no earned runs and just three hits in six innings of work while striking out four batters and walking just two.
Offensively, Havre exploded for four runs in the fifth inning and five in the sixth to grab a commanding 10-0 lead. Ian Spencer had a monster game offensively for the Northstars with a pair of hits and four RBIs. Steve Heberly was also solid at the plate picking up a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs while Daine Solomon had two hits, scored three runs and an RBI.
On Saturday, Havre pounded perennial Eastern power, the Glendive Blue devils 10-1 as the Northstars pounded out 14 hits in the game.
The Northstars scored in every inning but the second on their way to the win. Brandon Morse picked up the win on the mound going the distance and allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out 10 and walking just two batters.
Solomon led the Northstar hitting with a pair of hits including a two-run home run. Spencer continued his hot hitting, collecting three hits and a pair of RBIs. Tyson Roe went 3-4 with an RBI while Dusty Heath added a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs in the win.
Havre's hot hitting continued later in the day as the Northstars crushed the Bozeman Spikes, 15-1, in five innings. Havre scored in every inning and knocked out 13 hits in the game.
Ian Spencer cruised to the win on the mound as he allowed one run on three hits while striking out three and walking none in five innings of work.
Solomon continued his torrid hitting going 2-4 with four RBIs including his second home run of the tournament. Heath's bat also stayed hot as he had three hits and three RBIs. Steve Heberly had a pair of RBI doubles while Thompson added a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs.
On Sunday, Havre got a little sweet revenge as they avenged a loss last week to the Bitterroot Red Sox with a 9-3 victory.
Havre pitcher Steve Heberly put in a solid performance going the distance, and allowing just three runs and eight hits to the powerful hitting Red Sox.
The Northstars scored four runs in the second inning to grab a 5-0 lead. Heberly helped his cause by driving in a pair of runs in the inning while Adam Jensen added an RBI single and Heath drove in another with a sacrifice fly.
Bitterroot rallied in the third inning scoring all three of its runs thanks to a big triple from Joe Franklin. However, that is all the runs they would get as Heberly limited the Red Sox to just three hits in the remaining four innings. Conversely, the Northstars offense continued to click. Havre scored four runs in the sixth innings to pull away. Heberly had an RBI single and Heath had an RBI double in the inning.
Heberly finished 2-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored in the game. Heath was 1-4 with two RBIs while Solomon was 2-3 with an RBI.
Havre's winning streak finally came to end with a tough 4-3 loss to the Livingston Braves later on Sunday.
Pat Olson's single in the bottom of the seventh scored the tying and go-ahead runs off of reliever Tyson Roe to give the Braves the win.
Livingston scored a pair of runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Havre retook the lead in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs on an RBI single from Jensen and a two-run double from Solomon. But reliever Chris Brenna shut the Northstars down with a little help from some timely Brave defense to set up Olson's heroics.
Thompson started the game in place of Cory Junck, who injured his wrist last Wednesday in a collision. Williams limited Thompson to just 30 pitches in the game and then brought in Roe as a reliever."
It was the first time Roe had pitched since he was 16 and he did a solid job, considering the long layoff.
"Tyson pitched pretty good considering he hasn't thrown in a while," Williams said. "He came in threw strikes. He gave up the big hit, but we didn't do anything to help him. Livingston is a really good team. "
It was the only game where the Northstar bats remained relatively quiet as they left the bases loaded twice.
"We hit the ball really well this weekend," Williams said. " We hit consistently and we hit the ball really hard."
Indeed, the Northstars finished the weekend scoring 47 runs on 53 hits on the weekend. Havre's defense was also solid as the Northstars committed just four errors in five games.
Havre will return to conference action as it hosts the Great Falls Sparkies in a doubleheader on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Legion Field.
Havre Northstars 000 145 - 10 11 1
Gallatin Valley Outlaws 000 001 - 1 3 3
Tyler Thompson (WP) and Adam Jensen; Smith (LP) and Chaffins.
NORTHSTARS - Steve Heberly 2-3 (2 RBI), Adam Jensen 1-4, Daine Solomon 2-4 (RBI), Dusty Heath 1-3, Tyson Roe 0-2, Ian Spencer 2-4 (4 RBI), Mark Benjamin 0-4, Levi Briese 2-3, Brandon Morse 1-2.
OUTLAWS - Dykstra 0-2, Hart 1-3, Miller 0-3, Chaffins 0-3, Brooks 0-3, Knowles 2-3 (RBI), Clark 0-3, Darlington 0-2, Amack 0-2.
2B - Spencer, Briese, Knowles
3B - none
HR - none
Havre Northstars 202 121 2 - 10 14 1
Glendive Blue Devils 000 001 0 - 1 5 4
Brandon Morse (WP) and Adam Jensen; Bakken (LP), Burback (7) and Lystad.
NORTHSTARS - Steve Heberly 2-2 (RBI), Adam Jensen 0-5, Daine Solomon 2-3 (3 RBI), Dusty Heath 2-5 (2 RBI), Tyson Roe 3-4 (RBI), Ian Spencer 3-5 (2 RBI), Tyler Thompson 1-3, Mark Benjamin 1-4 (RBI), Levi Briese 0-3.
BLUE DEVILS - Bakken 1-4, Downs 1-3, Lystad 1-4, Burback 1-3, Ford 0-2, Iba 0-3, Odenbach 1-2, Walter 0-1, Burlison 0-1, Kaufman 0-2, Clausen 0-1.
2B - Heath, Spencer
3B - none
HR - Solomon
Bozeman Spikes 010 00 - 1 3 5
Havre Northstars 436 2X - 15 13 2
Ian Spencer (WP) and Levi Briese; Arles (LP), Bagger and Fletcher.
SPIKES - Dobie 0-3, Pike 0-3, Horton 0-2, Arles 1-2, Tallie 1-2, Edwards 1-2, Bagger 0-2, Fletcher 0-2, Bishop 0-2.
NORTHSTARS - Steve Heberly 2-3 (2 RBI), Adam Jensen 1-2 (RBI), Daine Solomon 3-4 (4 RBI), Dusty Heath 3-4 (3 RBI), Tyson Roe 0-3, Tyler Thompson 2-3 (2 RBI), Mark Benjamin 1-2, Cory Junck 0-3, Levi Briese 1-2.
2B - Arles, Heberly 2, Jensen
3B - none
HR - Solomon
Bitterroot Red Sox 003 000 0 - 3 8 4
Havre Northstars 140 004 X - 9 9 1
Higgins (LP) and Lokken; Steve Heberly (WP) and Adam Jensen.
RED SOX - Melton 0-4, Curran 1-3, Franklin 2-3 (2 RBI), Krande 1-2, DeSantiago 1-1, Fisk 1-3, Lokken 1-3, Tintzman 0-3, Tintzman 0-3, Ihde 0-3, Mousley 1-2.
NORTHSTARS - Steve Heberly 2-4 (3 RBI), Adam Jensen 1-3 (RBI), Daine Solomon 2-3 (RBI), Dusty Heath 1-3 (2 RBI), Tyson Roe 1-3, Ian Spencer 1-4, Tyler Thompson 0-3, Mark Benjamin 1-1, Cory Junck 0-2.
2B - Roe, Solomon, Benjamin
3B - Franklin
HR - none
Havre Northstars 000 300 0 - 3 6 0
Livingston Braves 200 000 2 - 4 10 1
Tyler Thompson (3), Tyson Roe (LP) and Adam Jensen; Boehler, Brenna (5-WP) and R. Klimek.
NORTHSTARS - Steve Heberly 0-2, Adam Jensen 1-3 (RBI), Daine Solomon 1-3 (2 RBI), Dusty Heath 1-4, Tyson Roe 1-3, Ian Spencer 0-3, Mark Benjamin 0-0, Cory Junck 1-2, Brandon Morse 1-2, Tyler Thompson 0-1.
BRAVES - Brenna 0-3, M. Klimek 1-3, C. Olson 2-4, R. Klimek 2-3 (RBI), P. Olson 2-4 (3 RBI), Boehler 0-3, Christian 1-2, Whitford 0-2, Kurshner 0-2.
2B - Olson, Boehler, Christian
3B - Olson
HR - none