By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The field may have looked like it. The scores may have indicated it. But the Havre Northstars weren't playing slow pitch softball on Wednesday.
The Northstars scored a ludicrous 56 runs and pounded out 53 hits in a doubleheader sweep over the Tri-County Cardinals in Shelby.
In fact, there was nothing soft about the Havre offense. The Northstars smacked line drives all over the field and ripped 18 extra base hits, including five home runs in the two games. The home-run power may have been a little misleading, admitted head coach Mickey Williams because of the small field in which the two teams played on.
"It was tiny park," he said. "I think it was 330 feet to dead center. So some of the home runs might not have been in other parks. But every ball we hit was hard. Everything we hit, we hit it hard."
In the opening game, the Northstars jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the top of the first. Tri-County answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning off of starter Bret Magelssen, but that's all they would get.
Magelssen settled into a nice rhythm and held the Cardinals scoreless the rest of the way. Even if he hadn't, Magelssen wasn't lacking run support.
In the top of the second, Havre scored a ridiculous 15 runs on 12 hits. Every Northstar hitter batted twice in the inning, with Tony Christian, Patch Wirtzberger, Trent Normandy, Jordon Patterson and Ricky Houim all getting two hits in the inning.
The big blasts came from Cory Junck and Normandy. Junck ripped a three-run home run, while Normandy for the second time in as many games, launching a grand slam.
With an 18-run lead, Magelssen cruised the rest of the way out to pick up his team-high fifth win of the season.
Havre tacked on two runs in the third, another in fourth and four in the fifth for good measure.
Every player that batted for Havre picked up at least one hit in the game. Wirtzberger, Normandy, Patterson and Houim all had four hits in the game. Junck and Normandy each had four RBIs while Jeff Tibbals and Houim each drove in a pair of runs.
In the nightcap, the Havre bats continued to sizzle in a 29-9 shellacking. The Northstars pounded out 26 hits - 11 of which were extra base hits.
Actually, Havre started off a little slow, managing just four run in the first three innings, powered by solo home runs from Junck and Chase Castloo.
The Northstars even found themselves trailing 7-4 because as hot as their bats were, their gloves were just as cold. Havre didn't help starting pitcher Trent Normandy out much, committing nine errors in the first three innings and all but spotted Tri-County the seven-run lead.
"That's just unacceptable," Williams said. "I don't care what the field is like you can't make that many errors. I think we got a little lackadaisical after that first game."
But the Northstars responded and then some,
Havre exploded 10 runs in the top of the fourth inning, reeling off six consecutive hits at one point. Junck had an RBI double and an RBI single in the inning while Magelssen added an RBI double and Christian capped off the inning with a two-run single.
After getting the lead back, Normandy allowed just two runs the rest of the way to notch his fourth win of the season.
Havre added another run in the fifth and hung another eight runs on the scoreboard in the sixth as Junck homered for the second time in the game and the third time in the day. He added another double in the inning to finish with five hits and four RBIs on the day.
"Cory is starting to swing the bat well," Williams said. "He is one of our 19-year-old players and we expect that from him."
Wirtzberger, Castloo, Magelssen and Brandon Morse all had four hits apiece in the game.
With the sweep, the Northstars stranglehold on the Northern District Standings grows even tighter as they improved to 10-0 in conference games and 21-9 overall.
"Conference games are still the most important thing for us," Williams said. "We want that No. 1 seed going into the District Tournament."
The Northstars will head to Three Forks for the Gallatin Valley Baseball Tournament this weekend.
Havre 29, Tri-County 2
Havre Northstars 5 15 2 1 4 - 27 27 3
Tri-County Cardinals 2 0 0 0 0 - 2 4 3
Bret Magelssen (WP) and Ricky Houim
NORTHSTAR HITTING - Tony Christian 3-3, Eric Fanning 2-3, Patch Wirtzberger 4-6, Cory Junck 2-4 (4 RBI), Trent Normandy 4-4 (4 RBI), Chase Castloo 2-4, Jeff Tibbals 1-2 (2 RBI), Jordon Patterson 4-6 (RBI), Ricky Houim 4-5 (2 RBI), Ben Erickson 1-2.
CARDINAL HITTING - Not available
2B - Christian, Normandy, Patterson 2,
3B - none
HR - Junck, Normandy
Havre 29, Tri-County 9
Havre Northstars 1 2 1 10 1 8 - 29 26 9
Tri-County Cardinals 0 3 4 1 1 0 - 9 8 5
Trent Normandy (WP) and Patch Wirtzberger
NORTHSTAR HITTING - Tony Christian 2-6 (2 RBI), Patch Wirtzberger 4-6 (RBI), Cory Junck 5-6 (4 RBI), Chase Castloo 4-5 (2 RBI), Brandon Morse 4-6, Jeff Tibbals 2-6, Bret Magelssen 4-5 (RBI), Jordon Patterson 1-4, Eric Fanning 0-2 (RBI).
CARDINAL HITTING - Josh Pyette 0-3, Judd Englehardt 1-3, Craig Smith 1-4, Dean Gordon 1-2, Robin Christiaens 0-3, Jeremiah Rosenberger 0-4, Sam Gardipee 2-3, Dusty Ahrens 2-4, Zach Styren 1-4.
2B - Wirtzberger, Christian, Junck 2, Castloo, Tibbals 2, Patterson,
3B - none
HR - Junck 2, Castloo