By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The last time the Havre Northstars and the Havre Comets played a game at Legion Field, the upstart Comets pulled off a shocking upset over their elder counterparts.
But a year later, many of those same players who keyed the landmark win were on the other end of the spectrum as Northstars. And there would be no uspets as the Northstars swept a non-conference doubleheader from the Comets on Sunday at Legion Field.
Havre got solid pitching performances, timely hitting and did its best to hold off a pesky Comet squad intent on notching the second-ever win against the Northstars.
In the opening game, Trent Normandy, who pitched the Comets to that elusive victory, held off his old team, pitching six strong innings.
Normandy, making his first start on the mound as a Northstar, scattered five hits and struck out four batters to pick up his first win of the season.
But it didn't look as though it would be an easy win early, as he and the Northstars found themselves trailing 1-0 after two innings. The Comets struck early. Jeff Tibbals led off the game with a single and later scored on a single by Jess McLain.
Comet pitcher John Christian kept the Northstars off balance for two innings, but the Northstars finally got things going in the bottom of the third. Patch Wirtzberger led off the inning with a single and later scored on an RBI single by Daine Solomon. A walk and an error loaded the bases for second baseman Eric Fanning, who dropped a single into center to score a pair of runs and give the Northstars a 4-1 lead.
The Comets rallied in the fourth inning, as Sean Peterson led off with a single and eventually scored on a single by Tyson Anderson. The Northstars answered in the bottom half of the fourth when Ian Spencer lashed a single to left to score a pair of runs.
The Comets threatened in the sixth, getting runners on the corners with one out. But Normandy struck out Anderson and Bret Magelssen threw Peterson out at the plate to end the inning.
The Northstars tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, as back-to-back doubles from Solomon and Spencer and a sacrifice fly from Normandy pushed the lead to 8-2.
Chase Castloo pitched a hitless seventh for the Northstars in relief of Normandy. Christian took the loss for the Comets, pitching four innings and allowing seven hits and five earned runs while striking out three batters and walking five. Richard Jarvis pitched two innings in relief and allowed two runs on three hits.
Solomon finished the game 3-4 with an RBI, while Spencer drove in three runs on a pair of hits. The Comets got hits from Tibbals, Peterson, McLain, Anderson and Mike Olson.
In the nightcap, Northstar ace Brandon Morse shook off an upset stomach and some early control problems to lead the Northstars to a 14-4 win in five innings. Morse looked a little shaky in the first two innings, walking three batters, hitting another and vomiting on the mound. Three of those free passes ended up scoring. But he got a little help from the Northstars' hitters to pick up his first win of the season.
The Northstars grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, as Spencer continued to have the hot bat. Spencer ripped a double down the line off starter Austin Small to score a pair of runs.
A first-inning walk to Peterson came back to haunt Morse as Peterson later scored on a passed ball to cut the lead to 2-1. The Northstars answered immediately, scoring four runs, led by Solomon's two-run double to right to push the lead to 6-1.
Things didn't get any easier for Morse in the second inning, even with the lead. He hit Bryden Vukasin in the head and walked another batter to put himself in trouble again. And Tibbals made him pay, lacing a triple to right field and scoring two runs. Tibbals later scored on a Morse wild pitch to cut the lead to 6-4.
But that was the last trouble Morse would find himself in. He cruised through the next three innings, holding the Comets to just one hit - an Anderson double - to pick up the win.
The Northstars were far from hitless in the final three innings. Ricky Houim ripped a double and a triple, Eric Fanning added an RBI single and the big blow came from a Spencer, who ripped a three-run home run.
Spencer finished the game 2-3 with five RBIs, while Houim was 2-4 and Solomon added two RBIs.
Morse allowed just three hits and only one earned run, while striking out seven batters. Small took the loss for the Comets, surrendering 10 runs. Only four were earned.
The Comets picked up a pair of wins over the Lewistown Redbirds on Saturday in Lewistown. Havre won the opening game 11-4, as Sean Peterson picked up the win on the mound. The Comets won the night cap 4-2, with Anderson and Ian Spencer combining for the win.
The Northstars will return to action on Sunday when they host the Lewistown Redbirds in a nonconference doubleheader. The Comets won't be in action until May 12, when they open the conference season against the Northstars.
Havre Northstars 8, Havre Comets 2
Havre Comets 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 - 2 4 3
Havre Northstars 0 0 4 2 0 2 X - 8 9 2
John Christian (LP), Richard Jarvis (6) and Josh Morse; Trent Normandy (WP), Chase Castloo (7) and Ricky Houim.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-2, Sean Peterson 1-2, Jess McLain 1-3 (RBI), Austin Small 0-3, Tyson Anderson 1-2 (RBI), Josh Lowe 0-3, Mike Olson 1-3, Scott Ladenburg 0-2, Josh Morse 0-3.
NORTHSTARS - Patch Wirtzberger 1-4, Tony Christian 0-2, Daine Solomon 3-4 (2 RBI), Ian Spencer 2-3 (2 RBI), Trent Normandy 0-3 (RBI), Ricky Houim 1-3, Jordon Patterson 1-3, Eric Fanning 1-2 (2 RBI), Bret Magelssen 0-3.
2B - Olson, Solomon, Spencer
3B - none
HR - none
Havre Northstars 14, Havre Comets 4
Havre Northstars 2 4 1 3 4 - 14 8 1
Havre Comets 1 3 0 0 0 - 4 3 4
Brandon Morse (WP) and Ricky Houim; Austin Small (LP), Tom Knudson (4) and Richard Jarvis, Josh Lowe.
NORTHSTARS - Patch Wirtzberger 1-4, Trent Normandy 1-3, Daine Solomon 1-1 (2 RBI), Ian Spencer 2-3 (5 RBI), Jordon Patterson 0-3, Ricky Houim 2-4, Eric Fanning 1-2 (RBI), Chase Castloo 0-3, Bret Magelssen 0-3.
COMETS - Jeff Tibbals 1-3 (2 RBI), Sean Peterson 0-1, Jess McLain 0-3, Richard Jarvis 0-2, Josh Lowe 0-1, John Christian 0-3, Tyson Anderson 1-2, Bryden Vukasin 0-1, Tom Knudson 0-1, Mike Olson 1-2.
2B - Solomon, Houim, Anderson
3B - Houim, Tibbals
HR - Spencer