By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
It seems like any more, if you get a night without rain, you better make the most of it. Despite predicted forecasts of up to an inch of rain on Thursday night, the Havre Baseball Jamboree kicked off with a solid first day at Legion Field.
The most exciting game of the night was saved for the end, as Patch Wirtzberger's single in the bottom of the ninth inning, scored Jeff Tibbals and secured a 4-3 win for the Havre Northstars over the Deer Lodge Wranglers.
With two outs in the inning, the Northstars appeared headed for another extra inning. But Tibbals, who moved up to play with the Northstars that day, lined a shot into the outfield for a double to put the winning run on.
Wirtzberger, who has been in a bit of a mini-slump of late, ripped a 2-1 fastball for his first hit of the night. With two outs, Tibbals was running on contact and scored the winning run.
"I knew I was going to do it," Wirtzberger said after the game. "I just got my pitch."
For head coach Mickey Williams, a win of any sort was a plus, considering he was playing with only 11 players, several of whom were playing out of position.
"It was a good win," Williams said. "We probably should have never gone to extra innings, but we'll definitely take it, especially considering the circumstances."
Early on, it looked as if the night might be a slugfest. Deer Lodge scored a run in its opening at-bat as Shane Niederklein ripped a triple to the gap to score Travis Thompson, who had reached on an error.
Havre answered immediately in the bottom have of the inning as Wirtzberger reached on a walk, promptly stole second and then scored on Daine Solomon's double. Solomon would score later in the inning to give the Northstars a 2-1 lead.
Deer Lodge tied the game an inning later as John Bates singled and later scored on a Cole Neubauer single.
But that's when the Wrangler offense ended. Northstar pitcher Bret Magelssen settled into a rhythm and started mowing down hitters.
Havre retook the lead in the bottom of the third as Ricky Houim singled, stole second and scored on a Brandon Morse double off of pitcher Cole Neubauer. The Wranglers lifted Neubauer and brought in Blake Niederklein. The young lefthander quieted Havre's bats, holding the Northstars scoreless of the next five innings.
Deer Lodge tied the game in the top of the seventh as Skyler Knuchel reached on a fielders choice and advanced to second on a throwing error. A wild pitch moved him to third and he scored on Mike Lowery's sacrifice fly.
"We made some mental mistakes in the field that really hurt us," Williams said. "They were little things like missing the cut-off man and allowing them to take extra bases. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but those extras bases really come back to haunt you."
Although Havre was held scoreless in the latter innings, it wasn't as if the Northstars weren't hitting. They were hitting the ball, it was just every thing was pretty much catchable. Aside from two nice outfield plays on some hard-hit balls, the majority of Havre's hits were soft flyballs that Deer Lodge players gobbled up.
"We didn't make them make any plays," Williams said. "I think we hit about four balls on the ground. The rest were pop ups. Our hits were all hard-hit balls, but that was about it. But give Deer Lodge credit. They made all the plays they were supposed and made about three or four tremendous plays to keep them in the game. We get a couple of those to fall and we might break it open."
Instead, things were tight and back and forth until Tibbals and Wirtzberger's heroics in the bottom of the ninth. The personnel move of sending Tibbals up from the Comets paid immediate dividends for Havre.
"Our players know that Jeff is ready to play with us," Williams said. "He did a nice job for us. Patch hadn't been hitting particularly great lately, but he didn't try to do more with the pitch than he should have. He just hit it where it was pitched. If you do that, good things will happen."
Magelssen, who Williams wasn't sure would be back for the game, was solid, throwing all nine innings to pick up his fourth win of the season. Magelssen allowed just five hits and three runs, while striking our four, walking two and hitting two. Of the 27 Deer Lodge outs in the game, 16 were ground ball outs.
"Bret made a couple of mistakes early like hitting a guy with an 0-2 count," Williams said. "But he settled down and had them just pounding the ball into the ground. When he does that, he's very effective."
Havre was led offensively by Solomon and Hoium, who had two hits apiece. Morse, Tibbals, Wirtzberger and Chase Castloo all recorded hits for Havre.
The Northstars return to action tonight when they face the defending Class A state champion Bitterroot Red Sox.
Glasgow Reds 18,
Havre Comets 6
After a promising start, things completely fell apart for the Havre Comets in an 18-6 loss to the Glasgow Reds.
The Comets grabbed a 3-2 first-inning lead, only to see it slip away as Glasgow scored six runs in the top of the third off of Comet starter Sean Peterson. The Reds never looked back en route to the big win.
Glasgow made things worse in the fifth inning, scoring 10 runs off a pair of Comet relievers to invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
Offensively, the Reds pounded out 10 hits for the 18 runs, while capitalizing on four Comet errors. Randy Elletson, Michael Southern, Nate Doornek and Seth Combs recorded two hits each for the Reds.
The Comets managed just five hits off of starter Nathan Hopstad, but did take advantage of a couple Reds errors to score three runs. Havre got hits from Jess McLain, Mike Olson, John Christina, Bryden Vukasin and Josh Morse. Austin Small scored three runs for the Comets.
The Comets return to action tonight when they face Deer Lodge at 6:30 p.m.
Great Falls Black Sox 5, Billings Braves 0
Kevin Kolve pitched seven strong innings, allowing no runs and just two hits to lead the Great Falls Black Sox to a 5-0 win over the Billings Braves. Kolve didn't allow a Braves runner to reach third base until the last inning and was dominant throughout.
Brian Bollwitt and Chris Mooney led the Black Sox attack with two hits each.
Play at the Havre Baseball Jamboree started again this morning and will continue throughout the weekend.
Northstars 4, Deer Lodge 3
Deer Lodge Wranglers 110 000 100 - 3 5 0
Havre Northstars 201 000 001 - 4 8 3
Cole Neubauer (3), Blake Niederklein (LP) and Dusty Gliko; Bret Magelssen (WP) and Patch Wirtzberger.
WRANGLER HITTING - Travis Thompson 1-5, Shane Niederklein 2-5, Skyler Knuchel 0-4, Mike Cease 0-3, Mike Lowery 1-3 (RBI), Dusty Gliko 0-4, John Bates 0-3, Brian Brown 1-3, Blake Niederklein 0-3.
NORTHSTAR HITTING - Jeff Tibbals 1-4, Patch Wirtzberger 1-4 (RBI), Daine Solomon 2-4 (RBI), Ricky Houim 2-4, Brandon Morse 1-4 (RBI), Cory Junck 0-2, Tony Christian 0-1, Jordon Patterson 0-2, Eric Fanning 0-4, Chase Castloo 1-2.
2B - Lowery, Tibbals, Wirtzberger, Solomon, Morse
3B - S. Niederklein
HR - none
Glasgow 18, Comets 6
Glasgow Reds 206 0 10 - 18 10 3
Havre Comets 302 0 1 - 6 5 4
Nathan Hopstad (WP) and Alex Mock; Sean Peterson (LP), Tom Knudson (4), Richard Jarvis (5) and Josh Morse.
RED HITTING - Randy Elletson 2-2 (RBI), Jess McIntyre 1-3 (2 RBI), Nathan Hopstad 0-2 (RBI), Nate Doornek 2-3 (3 RBI), Seth Combs 2-4 (RBI), Michael Southern 2-3 (RBI), Alex Mock 0-2, Tory Rasmusan 1-3, Jake Newton 0-3.
COMET HITTING - Richard Jarvis 0-2, Tyson Anderson 0-3, Austin Small 0-1, Jess McLain 1-2, Mike Olson 1-2, John Christian 1-3 (RBI), Josh Lowe 0-1, Josh Morse 1-2, Scott Ladenburg 0-2, Bryden Vukasin 1-1 (RBI), Bill Siebrasse 0-1, Tom Knudson 0-1.
2B - Vukasin, Elletson, Doornek, Southern, Rasmusan
3B - none
HR - none