Havre Daily News Sports Editor
The Havre Northstars picked the wrong time and wrong opponent to fall victim to early season mistakes.
After playing fundamentally sound baseball early in the season, the Northstars were plagued by mental mistakes and errors in a pair of losses to the Great Falls Stallions, AA squad, Sunday at Legion Field.
"We made way too many mistakes to compete against a AA squad," said Northstars head coach Mickey Williams. "We had a lot of mental letdowns and some costly errors in the field. You can't do that and expect to win."
Havre had its opportunities in the opening game. The Northstars trailed 3-1 late in the game, but gave up three costly runs in the top of the sixth in a 6-2 loss.
Down 3-0, Havre finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Patch Wirtzberger ripped a double and advanced to third on a balk call. He later scored on Sean Peterson's sacrifice fly. The Northstars tried to rally late in the game, scoring a run in their last at-bat, as Wirtzberger drove in Scott Ladenburg with a single. But the Havre rally would end there.
Chase Castloo took the loss on the mound for Havre. Castloo pitched five innings, allowing just two hits and no earned runs. However, he was plagued by five walks and two costly errors, which led to three unearned runs. Wirtzberger had two hits to lead the Northstars.
In the nightcap, a possible Northstar win turned into a Great Falls blowout in one inning, as the Stallions scored seven runs in the top of the seventh to grab a 17-7 win.
After struggling to score runs in the first game, the Northstars' bats warmed up considerably. Havre grabbed a 2-1 lead in the first when Tibbals smacked a two-run single to left. Great Falls answered immediately, scoring five runs in the top of the second off starter Sean Peterson.
Havre answered in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two runs on RBI singles from Tibbals and Castloo to cut the lead to 6-4. Great Falls tacked on two more runs in the third, but Havre cut the lead to 8-7 as Chase Castloo ripped a bases-loaded double to the right-center gap.
However, the Havre bats would go quite after that outburst, managing just one hit over the next three innings. Great Falls added two more runs in the fourth and then broke things open in the seventh as the Northstars went through a parade of pitchers trying to get the Stallions out.
Great Falls banged out 14 hits and capitalized on four Havre errors in the win.
Peterson took the loss, going four innings and allowing 10 runs, seven of which were earned.
Castloo led the Havre hitters with three hits and four RBIs, while Tibbals finished 2-4 with three RBIs.
"We hit the ball well early, but we didn't in the last half of the game," Williams said. "We didn't play as well as we have. It's early in the season and there are going to be mistakes, but the mental mistakes are something we shouldn't be making."
Great Falls 6, Havre 2
Great Falls Stallions 101 013 0 - 6 7 2
Havre Northstars 000 010 1 - 2 7 4
Oatman and Thares; Chase Castloo (5), Jeff Tibbals (2) and Patch Wirtzberger.
WP - Oatman; LP - Castloo.
STALLIONS HITTING - Murray 2-4, Schoonover 0-3, Kakalecik 1-3, Thares 1-3, Burrow 1-4, Hedstrom 0-3, DeBolt 1-4, Kovatch 1-2, Thompson 0-1, Hatley 0-3.
NORTHSTARS HITTING - Patch Wirtzberger 2-4 (RBI); Sean Peterson 1-3 (RBI), Austin Small 0-1, Josh Lowe 0-2, John Christian 1-3, Eric Fanning 1-3, Jeff Tibbals 1-3, Jess McLain 0-3, Scott Ladenburg 1-3; Bryden Vukasin 0-2, Chase Castloo 0-1
2B - Murray, Kakalecik, Wirtzberger
3B - none
HR - none
Great Falls 17, Havre 7
Great Falls Stallions 152 200 7 - 17 14 2
Havre Northstars 223 000 0 - 7 9 4
Kakalecik (3), Kovatch (3), Schoonover (1) and Burrow; Sean Peterson (4), John Christian (2), Josh Lowe, Patch Wirtzberger, Jeff Tibbals and Josh Morse.
WP - Kakalecik; LP - Peterson.
STALLIONS HITTING - Murray 1-3, Schoonover 2-4, Kakalecik 1-4, Burrow 2-4, Thompson 1-5, Oatman 2-2, Kovatch 1-1 Hedstrom 0-1, DeBolt 1-2, Griffith 2-2, Hatley 1-4.
NORTHSTARS HITTING - Patch Wirtzberger 1-3, John Christian 1-3, Chase Castloo 3-3 (4 RBI), Jeff Tibbals 2-4 (3 RBI), Sean Peterson 1-3, Eric Fanning 0-4, Bryden Vukasin 1-4, Josh Morse 0-3, Richard Jarvis 0-2.
2B - Murray, Kakalecik, Burrow, Christian, Castloo
HR - none