By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The wins are easy to remember, but the losses are tougher to forget. Despite winning three games this past weekend, its the one that got away that Havre Comet head coach Bob Evans can't erase.
After winning their first three games of a pair of weekend doubleheaders, the Comets let a chance for a sweep slip away in the seventh inning as Kevin Corwin's triple scored a pair of runs and he later scored the winning run, giving the Great Falls Sparkies an 8-7 win in the nightcap of a doubleheader Sunday at Don Olson Memorial Field in Great Falls.
Havre held a 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. However, starting pitcher Ben Erickson surrendered a lead-off single to open the inning. Evans lifted Erickson for closer Jeff Tibbals. But Tibbals promptly hit the first batter he faced and then surrendered a single to Jared Jacobsen and a triple to Corwin in relief.
But according to Evans the game wasn't lost in the last inning.
"We made some dumb mistakes in that game," Evans said. "We had some critical baserunning and bunting mistakes that cost us runs early in the game."
Indeed, the Comets outhit the Sparkies 12-8 in the game, but also committed four errors in the game. While errors are unavoidable in baseball, the nature of the errors were tough on Evans.
"I don't mind fielding mistakes because those things happen," Evans said. "But our errors were mental mistakes and they are the same mental mistakes we've made since the beginning of the season.
The loss overshadowed a solid pitching performance from Erickson, who held the Sparkies down for most of the game. Havre was led offensively by Tyson Anderson and Patch Wirtzberger, who banged out three hits apiece. Coda Tchida drove in a pair of runs while Tibbals and Normandy each added a pair of hits.
The loss snapped the Comets five game winning streak and interrupted the solid play they showed throughout the weekend.
Havre completed a season sweep over the Vauxhall Spurs on Saturday. A week earlier, the Comets swept the Spurs in a doubleheader in Canada and repeated the feat in Havre thanks to the solid pitching of Normandy and Bret Magelssen.
Normandy was just about unhittable in 14-0 win in the opening game. The Comet starter pitched all five innings, allowing just two hits in the game in picking up the shutout. He also helped out his cause at the plate as he drove in five runs in the game.
The Comets jumped on the Spurs early, scoring four runs in the first inning as the first five hitters all had hits. Havre added five more runs an inning later, led by Normandy's bases-loaded triple. The Comets tacked on five more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 14-0 lead. Normandy shut down the Spurs in the top of fifth ending the game in five innings.
"Trent was tough," Evans said. "He got stronger as the game went on and really shut them down."
In the nightcap, Magelssen was almost as tough. The lanky starter surrendered four hits in seven innings of work and gave up some late runs in a 10-3 victory.
Havre broke open a 1-0 game in the fourth inning as Mike Olson and Chase Castloo had RBI doubles to lead the charge. Havre scored three more runs an inning later as Erickson tripled in Jordon Patterson and Olson added his second run scoring hit of the game.
Anderson led the Northstars with three hits and an RBI while Olson and Erickson had two hits and two RBIs each.
The Comets carried the momentum from the sweep into the opening game on Sunday against Great Falls. Havre scored six runs in the second inning to run away with a 12-2 win in five innings.
It was a happy return for starter Chase Castloo. After battling tendonitis in his arm, Castloo put together his best outing since the injury with a complete game five-hit win. Castloo struck out seven batters in five innings and settled down after allowing two runs in the first inning.
"Chase looked pretty good," Evans said. "He was throwing hard and dominating in the later innings. He looks like he is getting back to full strength."
Havre was led offensively by Tibbals, who did a solid job in the lead-off spot - collecting three hits and scoring four runs. Patch Wirtzberger had a pair of hits and drove in three runs.
The Comets will be in action today, weather permitting, as they take on the Tri-County Cardinals in doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. in Conrad. They return home to face the Fort MacLeod Royals on Wednesday at Legion Field.
Vauxhall Spurs 000 00 - 0 2 3
Havre Comets 432 5X - 14 16 1
Trent Normandy and Patch Wirtzberger, Mike Olson. WP - Normandy, LP - unavailable.
SPURS - Munro 1-3, Ellis 0-3, Rhodes 1-2, Beckie 0-1, Forsyth 0-2, Kapscos 0-2, Birch 0-1, Conrad 0-2, Odlund 0-2.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-4, Patch Wirtzberger 2-3, Mike Olson 0-1, Trent Normandy 2-4 (5 RBI), Coda Tchida 3-3, Jordon Patterson 3-3, Kaare Engebretson 1-3, Bret Magelssen 0-2, Ben Erickson 1-1, Eric Fanning 1-2 (RBI), Tony Christian 2-3
2B - Ellis, Wirtzberger, Tchida, Christian
3B - Rhodes, Normandy
HR - none
Vauxhall Spurs 000 002 1 - 3 4 2
Havre Comets 100 531 X - 10 11 1
Enelson and Kover; Bret Magelssen and Mike Olson. WP - Magelssen, LP - Enelson.
SPURS - Munro 1-4, Ellis 0-4, Rhodes 1-3, Forsyth 1-3, Davis 1-3, Bowman 0-3, Olson 1-3, Kover 0-3, Vilay 1-3.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-2, Patch Wirtzberger 0-3 (RBI), Trent Normandy 0-4 (RBI), Coda Tchida 1-3, Jordon Patterson 2-3, Ben Erickson 2-3 (2 RBI), Tyson Anderson 3-4 (RBI), Mike Olson 2-4 (2 RBI), Chase Castloo 1-1(2 RBI).
2B - Forsyth, Tibbals, Castloo
3B - none
HR - none
Havre Comets 162 03 - 12 8 0
Great Falls Sparkies 200 00 - 2 5 1
Chase Castloo and Patch Wirtzberger; Whitaker, Fulgum (3) and Patterson. WP - Castloo, LP - Whitaker.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 3-3, Patch Wirtzberger 2-2 (3 RBI), Trent Normandy 1-3 (2 RBI), Coda Tchida 0-2 (2 RBI), Jordon Patterson 0-3, Kaare Engebretson 0-2, Eric Fanning 0-3, Tony Christian 1-1.
SPARKIES - King 1-3, Jacobsen 1-2, Johnson 0-3, Corwin 1-2, Swartz 0-2, Haman 0-1, Whitaker 1-1, Fulgum 0-1, Chaon 1-2, Patterson 0-2.
2B - Tibbals, Jacobsen, Normandy, Erickson,
3B - King
HR - none
Havre Comets 012 300 1 - 7 12 4
Great Falls Sparkies 200 002 4 - 8 8 3
Ben Erickson, Jeff Tibbals (7) and Mike Olson; Chaon and Jacobsen. WP - Chaon, LP - Tibbals
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 2-3, Patch Wirtzberger 3-4, Trent Normandy 2-4, Coda Tchida 0-4 (2 RBI), Jordon Patterson 1-2, Kaare Engebretson 0-1, Tyson Anderson 3-3 (RBI), Bret Magelssen 1-3, Mike Olson 1-4 (RBI), Tony Christian 1-3.
SPARKIES - Egan 1-3, Jacobsen 1-4, Johnson 2-4, Corwin 3-4, Stubbs 0-3, Fulgum 0-3, Arvize 0-3, Wassman 0-2, Feller 1-3.
2B - Jacobson, Corwin
3B - Johnson, Anderson, Corwin
HR - none