Havre Daily News Sports Editor
With only two games remaining in the season, the last thing that Havre High fast pitch coach Bob Evans expected was his team to come out flat.
But Thursday afternoon at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field, that's exactly what the Ponies did and it cost them in an 8-3 loss to the CMR junior varsity squad.
"We were really, really flat early on," Evans said. "We didn't get fired up for the first four innings and I don't know why since we only have two games left. Maybe some of them have senioritis or something."
The sudden attack of lethargy hurt the Ponies early on as CMR jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to an RBI single from CMR's Dani Horton and a two-run inside-the-park home run from lead-off hitter Jill Zeren. The normally solid Havre defense hurt itself with a pair fielding miscues, costing two of the runs.
CMR added to its lead in the top of the fourth as Zeren struck again, this time with a two-run triple. She would score immediately as Kinnsey Reilly knocked a single to right.
The Ponies were down 6-0 and in a bit of a funk. Evans was just happy that the lead wasn't bigger.
"We didn't play very well defensively," Evans said. "We gave them some early runs and got behind. We knew they were going to hit the ball. We just didn't do a good job of making the plays."
The Ponies still tried to scrap their way back into the game, picking their bats up and their emotions in the fourth.
Laura Zentmire drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fourth and worked her way to third on a passed ball and a Kendra Mader single. She later scored with a nifty head-first slide on Tereyl Shrauger's ground ball to the pitcher.
The initial Havre run sparked some life back into the team.
"If we had played that way in the first four innings, the game would have been a little different," Evans said. "We were getting runners on base easy and we had a lot of opportunities to score early on."
CMR answered Havre's score in the fifth as a pair of errors and Nichole Nabozner's RBI double pushed the lead to 8-1.
Havre was able to cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with no outs. After a pair of strikeouts, catcher McKayla Patterson delivered, ripping a two-run single to right-center on a full-count to trim the lead to 8-3.
"McKayla got a big hit for us," Evan said. "That was a big hit with bases loaded. Those are the type of things that we haven't been able to do consistently this season."
The Ponies made a little noise in the seventh, getting runners on second and third, but Reilly was able to get a rare strikeout of Zentmire and a fly-out from Mader to end the game.
Reilly went all seven innings, striking out eight batters, but walking six. Kristin Evanson also went the distance for the Ponies, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs.
"Kristin pitched a pretty good ball game for us," Evans said. "She pitched well enough for us to win. But we just didn't play well enough to get the win for her."
Havre managed just four hits against Reilly as Mader, Patterson, Casey Benner and Whitney Barnekoff each had singles.
The Ponies will return to action in their final home game of the season on Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host Browning at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.
CMR 8, Havre 3
CMR Rustlers 102 320 0 - 8 10 1
Havre Blue Ponies 000 102 0 - 3 4 4
Kinnsey Reilly and Dani Della Rosa; Kristin Evanson and McKayla Patterson, Kyla Kelsey.
WP - Reilly; LP - Evanson.
RUSTLERS HITTING - Jill Zeren 2-3 (4 RBI); Kinnsey Reilly 2-4 (RBI); Kelsey Larry 1-4; Dani Horton 1-2 (RBI); Amanda Morris 0-2; Casidi Palagi 1-2; Nichole Nabozner 2-4 (RBI); Dani Swift 0-4; Dani Della Rosa 1-4; Brittany Barnes 0-1; Megan Yurek 0-2; Kaylee Greenwood 0-1; Becca Frank 0-2.
BLUE PONIES HITTING - Kelsey Evans 0-3; Casey Benner 1-3; Whitney Barnekoff 1-2; Laura Zentmire 0-2; Kendra Mader 1-3; Tereyl Shrauger 0-1; Kyla Kelsey 0-1; Sjanettee D'Hooge 0-2; McKayla Patterson 1-3 (2 RBI); Kristin Evanson 0-2.
2B - Nabozner
3B - Zeren
HR - Zeren