By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
A true test of a team is the ability to bounce back after a loss. The Havre Comets didn't bounce back from one loss, they bounced back from five losses, to pick up a key sweep of the Vauxhall Spurs in a Northern District doubleheader Wednesday in Vauxhall, Alberta.
The Comets, who finished 1-4 at the Lewistown Redbird tournament last weekend and were swept by the Medicine Hat Knights on Tuesday, shook off the earlier losses and played solid baseball in defeating Vauxhall.
In game one, Havre knocked out 10 hits in a 7-3 win. The Comets broke open a 3-3 game in the top of the sixth as Jeff Tibbals drove in a pair of runs.
Havre tacked on two more insurance runs in the seventh as Trent Normandy led off with a single and scored on a single by Coda Tchida. Bret Magelssen later scored Tchida on a fielder's choice.
Normandy came on in relief of Chase Castloo and slammed the door on the Spurs, striking out four of the six hitters he faced. Tibbals picked up the win pitching five strong innings, allowing three runs on four hits.
Havre was led offensively by Normandy, Tchida, Kaare Engebretson and Patch Wirtzberger, who all finished with two hits in the game.
In the second game, Ben Erickson pitched a solid game while the Comet bats came alive as they completed the sweep with an 11-1 win.
Erickson pitched all five innings, allowing just one run and five hits while striking out four and walking one batter.
"Ben pitched pretty well," said Comet coach Bob Evans. "He had good location and kept the ball down around their knees. When you keep the ball down, they aren't going to hit you too hard."
Havre broke open the game in the fourth inning, scoring six runs on seven hits and grabbing a 9-0 lead. Wirtzberger, Tchida, Tyson Anderson and Eric Fanning all drove in runs with singles.
The Comets were led by Normandy, who finished with a game-high three hits. Fanning finished with two hits and two RBIs while Tibbals added a pair of hits.
On Tuesday, Havre had a chance to at least pick up a win against Medicine Hat. The Comets held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning but a costly two-out error gave the Knights a second chance and they capitalized with a two-run double to win the game.
"We had them beat," Evans said. "We made a couple of errors and a couple of mistakes that let them back into the ball game."
The loss took some of the luster off a solid pitching performance from Normandy, who pitched all eight innings and allowed just one earned run.
"Trent pitched great," Evans said. "We didn't do a very good job of helping him out."
Normandy and Tibbals each drove in runs in the loss.
In the nightcap, the Knights scored four runs in the first inning off of Comet starter Bret Magelssen and never looked back as they cruised to a 14-4 win in six innings.
Normandy led the Comet offense with three hits while Wirtzberger, Tchida, Erickson and Castloo all drove in runs.
Evans initial goal for the season was to qualify for the Northern A District Tournament. With the two wins over Vauxhall, it appears the Comets have done that. But Evans isn't about to let his team rest on its accomplishments.
"We have to keep winning games to make sure we don't see the Northstars in the first round," Evans said. "We need to keep winning to improve our seed in the tournament."
The Comets will get that opportunity when they host Vauxhall on Saturday and travel to Great Falls to take on the Sparkies on Sunday.
Havre Comets 010 010 01 - 3 6 3
Medicine Hat Knights 000 011 02 - 4 8 4
Trent Normandy and Patch Wirtzberger; Hitcher and Muryn. WP - Hitcher, LP - Normandy.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-3 (RBI), Patch Wirtzberger 1-2, Coda Tchida 1-4, Trent Normandy 1-4 (RBI), Jordon Patterson 1-4, Kaare Engebretson 0-1, Bret Magelssen 0-3, Bryden Vukasin 1-3, Eric Fanning 0-4.
KNIGHTS - Coehorn 0-4, Haberlack 2-3, Lewis 2-4, Patience 0-4, Muryn 1-4, Rittinger 2-3, Smeby 2-4, Prosser 0-3, Cameron 1-3 .
2B - Tchida, Lewis, Cameron
3B - Rittinger
HR - none
Havre Comets 001 030 - 4 10 2
Medicine Hat Knights 401 432 - 14 10 2
Bret Magelssen and Mike Olson; Lewis and Rintoul. WP - Rintoul, LP - Magelssen.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 0-3, Patch Wirtzberger 1-3 (RBI), Trent Normandy 3-4, Coda Tchida 2-3 (RBI), Kaare Engebretson 1-3, Ben Erickson 0-1 (RBI), Tyson Anderson 1-3, Chase Castloo 1-3 (RBI), Mike Olson 1-3.
KNIGHTS - Haberlock 3-3, Rittinger 0-2, Johnson 0-4, Patience 3-5, Simons 2-4, Prosser 1-2, Hitcher 2-4, Rintoul 0-4, Reeder 2-4.
2B - Patience, Prosser, Tchida, Normandy
3B - Simons
HR - none
Havre Comets 101 102 2 - 7 10 3
Vauxhall Spurs 000 120 0 - 3 5 3
Jeff Tibbals, Chase Castloo(6), Trent Normandy and Patch Wirtzberger; Enelson and Kover. WP - Tibbals, LP - Enelson, S - Normandy.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-4 (2 RBI), Patch Wirtzberger 2-3 (RBI), Trent Normandy 2-3 (RBI), Coda Tchida 2-4 (RBI), Kaare Engebretson 2-4, Ben Erickson 0-0, Mike Olson 1-4, Bryden Vukasin 0-3, Bret Magelssen 0-1 (RBI), Eric Fanning 0-4.
SPURS - Monroe 1-4, Bowman 0-3, Fellis 1-3, Rhoda 0-2, Forsyth 2-2, Kapnos 1-3, Lonrod 0-3, Kover 0-3, Odland 0-2.
2B - Normandy
3B - none
HR - none
Havre Comets 201 62 - 11 10 1
Vauxhall Spurs 000 10 - 1 4 2
Ben Erickson and Patch Wirtzberger; Odland and Kover. WP -Erickson, LP - Odland.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 2-3, Patch Wirtzberger 1-3 (RBI), Trent Normandy 3-4 (RBI), Coda Tchida 1-3 (RBI), Tyson Anderson 1-2 (2 RBI), Bret Magelssen 0-3 (RBI), Kaare Engebretson 1-3, Ben Erickson 0-1, Eric Fanning 2-2 (2 RBI).
SPURS - Vilay 0-3, Davis 2-3, Kapscos 2-3, Olson 0-3, Odland 0-2, Birch 0-1, Enelson 0-1, Kover 1-2, Stofer 0-2.
2B - Davis, Kapscos,
3B - none
HR - none