By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
It's not often that the Havre fast- pitch softball club team will play teams with less experience. So when it does, winning is a must.
Havre wasted little time Saturday, crushing another first-year team, the Shelby Coyotes, 18-2, in five innings.
The Coyotes, who were playing their first game, were plagued with errors and mistakes indicative of that first-game experience. It's something that Havre head coach Kim Staudinger knows from her own personal experience.
"For once, we were the more experienced team," Staudinger said. "I know how they felt, because it was the same way we felt last week against Browning."
Havre capitalized on every Shelby mistake. A pair of walks to open the bottom of the first quickly turned to a 3-0 lead on a home run from Kim Collins.
"I felt bad for them," Staudinger said. "Their pitcher found out that she couldn't step back when she pitched right before the game started. She only got about 10 pitches to get used to keeping both feet on the rubber. You can tell it bothered her."
Indeed, Molly Buyske was clearly bothered with the adjustment and walked two more batters in the inning, but managed to allow no more runs.
Shelby answered with a run of its own in the top of the second, as Jacee Lauten-Schlager plated Sabin Hertig with a single.
Havre built on the lead in the third inning, scoring four runs as Brittany Callahan and Laura Zentmire got things going with a pair of hits. A pair of walks, a Shelby error and a fielder's choice plated the runs.
The Coyotes added another run as Lauten-Schlager scored Hertig again in the top of the fourth.
Havre turned the game into a blowout in the fourth inning, scoring 11 runs on five hits and seven walks. Buyske was replaced halfway through the big inning by Megan Cross. However, Cross was used to pitching the other way and struggled early.
Havre got hits from Whitney Schwan, Callahan, Zentmire, while Kelsey Evans had two hits in the inning.
"Their pitchers were taught wrong from the beginning," Staudinger said. "It really bothered their second pitcher as well."
Havre played solid defense and committed a season low three errors. But the defense had a little help from pitcher Kristin Evanson, who struck out 10 batters.
"It helps our defense when Kristin strikes out 10 batters," Staudinger said. "We did make some very good plays, but there wasn't that many opportunities."
Havre was led offensively by Evans, who banged out three hits and scored two runs. Zentmire and Callahan notched two hits and scored two runs each, while Collins scored three runs in the game.
"This game was very good for us," Staudinger said. "We got to see another first-year program and compare to how we are doing."
Shelby 0 1 0 1 0 - 2 3 5
Havre 3 0 4 11 X - 18 9 3
Molly Buyske (3) (LP), Megan Cross and Bailey Jackson; Kristin Evanson (WP) and Mandy Boyce.
SHELBY - Traci Tokerud 0-3, Sammy Franks 0-3, Molly Buyske 0-2, Bailey Jackson 0-3, Sabina Herti 2-2, Brittany Winney 0-2, Jacee Lauten-Schlager 2-2, Megan Cross 0-2, Teresa Tokerud 0-2.
HAVRE - Sjanetee D'Hooge 0-4, Whitney Schwan 1-3, Kim Collins 1-3, Brittany Callahan 2-3, Laura Zentmire 2-3, Kelsey Evans 3-3, Mandy Boyce 0-2, Kristin Evanson 0-2, Whitney Barnekoff 0-2.
2B - none
3B - none
HR - Collins