By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
It hasn't been the easiest of weeks for the girls on the Havre fast pitch softball club team. The blast of winter-like weather that hit Havre for most of the week ended any chance of outdoor practice.
On Tuesday, they watched as their hopes of becoming an official sport at Havre High take a huge step back at the recent Havre school board meeting. Still, with all that swirling around in her players heads, head coach Kim Staudinger is hoping that a few games will get their minds back on softball and not on school board votes. Lost in the middle of all this is the fact that that they have to play in a very competitive Conrad Invitational softball tournament on Saturday.
"It's been a tough week for them," Staudinger said. "I think they have a little bit of taste in their mouth. They were still talking about it on (Thursday), but they need to get past it.
"Basically they can act two ways. Either they go out and show people by playing so well that they deserve to be part of the school, or they just fall apart. Hopefully, since this is a tournament they will allow themselves to forget about everything else and just play."
Havre opens play on Saturday at noon against a very good Huntley Project squad and then faces a familiar team in Shepherd at 3 p.m.
Staudinger saw Huntley play at the Belgrade tournament earlier in the season and was very impressed.
"Huntley has a solid team," she said. "They played very well in Belgrade. They have a couple of bigger girls who can really hit the ball hard and their pitcher has a lot of movement on her pitches and in her windup. She's very deceiving."
Havre lost to Shepherd 10-3 in that same Belgrade tournament. But Staudinger believes that Saturday's affair will be much closer.
"Shepherd's a pretty young team," she said. "They really capitalized on every mistake we made in the field and that's how they beat us. We need to limit those mistakes and capitalize on the one's they make."
The defensive mistakes should go down some as Havre will put out its normal lineup this weekend.
Pitcher Kristin Evanson is about 90 percent healthy, which allows Staudinger to play people at their normal positions. Still much depends on how Evanson's health holds up.
"Whether she is able to throw both games is up in the air," Staudinger said. "She threw a couple times this week and looked pretty good."
Like many coaches, Staudinger wasn't exactly happy to see the spate of cold weather hit the region.
"Yesterday and today will be the only times we'll be outside all week," she said. "We really need to make the most of these two days practice-wise."
The tournament setting hasn't been exactly kind to Havre, which has a 1-8 record in two tourneys thus far, but Staudinger hopes that her team will continue to improve.
"We've played better with each tournament so hopefully we'll continue to do that," she said. "I think we're starting to be more comfortable playing in that setting."