Havre Daily News Sports Editor
Committing eight errors in a doubleheader rarely leads to victory. However, 20 hits can help overcome those kinds of mistakes.
The Havre Northstars overcame a sloppy defensive performance to sweep the Medicine Hat Knights in a Northern District doubleheader on Saturday at Legion Field.
After being fairly crisp defensively for most of the season, the Northstars committed a ghastly six errors in the opener. However, at the time Havre was already up 11-1. The miscues basically meant the Northstars had to play a seven- inning game instead of a five- inning game in a 13-5 win.
"Six errors in a game doesn't cut it," said head coach Mickey Williams. "We are better than that, and we need to play better than that if we expect to win in this league."
Havre jumped all over Medicine Hat starter Shawn Shellenberg, scoring three runs in the first inning, highlighted by Jeff Tibbals' RBI triple.
The Northstars broke things open in the second inning, scoring seven runs on five hits as Josh Lowe had a sacrifice fly, Sean Peterson had a big triple, Patch Wirtzberger and Ben Erickson had RBI doubles, and Scott Ladenburg had a run-scoring triple. Havre tacked on another run in the third when Lowe scored on Small's ground ball to second.
With an 11-1 lead and Small cruising along on the mound, the Northstars seemed poised to make it a 10-run mercy rule game. But instead they kicked it around defensively in the next two innings, committing four errors that led to four Medicine Hat runs.
"Those are routine plays we were missing," Williams said. "Errors are going to happen, but that's ridiculous. We lost focus after we got that big lead. We thought we could just sit back and they would quit."
Havre added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth as Small ripped a two-run single. After getting hit hard for a few innings, Small held the Knights scoreless over the final three innings to get the win.
"There were times where Austin left the ball up in the strike zone and he got hit hard," Williams said. "Once he started keeping the ball down he was fine."
He led the way with two hits and four RBIs, while Wirtzberger and Ladenburg had two hits each.
In the nightcap, Havre was a little better in the field and used a five-run third inning for an 8-2 win. Tibbals was solid on the mound, shaking off eight Medicine Hat hits and allowing just two runs in the game. Twice he got out of minor jams, getting big outs with runners in scoring position.
"Jeff pitched a pretty good game," Williams said. "He got ahead of hitters and for the most part kept the ball down."
The Northstars were leading 1-0 in the third when they broke things open. Ben Erickson got things going with a triple and scored on a Tibbals' hit. Eric Fanning, Josh Morse had RBI singles and Peterson had a run-scoring double.
Havre's defense committed just two errors in the game and was much sharper.
"The game didn't have much rhythm," Williams said. "But we did what we had to do to win. I thought we were sharper in the field."
Peterson and Morse had two hits each to lead the Northstars.
"We've been on them all year about being focused for the entire game," Williams said. "We still can't seem to keep up the intensity for an entire game."
While the Northstars were losing intensity in the game, the Havre Comets were missing it from the outset, dropping a pair of games to the Knights on Sunday.
The Comets came out unusually flat and it resulted in an 11-0 five-inning loss in the opening game.
"We didn't come out with any enthusiasm," said Comets head coach Andy Smith. "We were really flat and weren't ready to play."
Medicine Hat's Curtis Archer held the Comets to just three hits in the game. His teammates roughed up starter Michael Erickson, scoring seven runs in the third with the Comets committing a pair of crucial errors.
"We didn't hit the ball very well in the first game and made some crucial mental errors that hurt us," Smith said.
Logan Reichelt, Tanner Donovan and Jeremiah Moog had the Comets only hits.
In the nightcap, Havre fared much better, grabbing a 3-0 lead early on. However, Medicine Hat capitalized on some walks by Comet starter Anthony Wirtzberger and picked up some timely hits to rally for a 7-3 win. Havre got an RBI single from Wirtzberger and took advantage of three passed balls to take the lead.
However, the Comets couldn't scratch together anther run, stranding five runners in the final three innings.
Wirtzberger had two hits, while Reichelt, Donovan, Marshall Cartwright, Seth Jensen and Bryan Heath all had hits for the Comets.
"I think we're a better team than what we showed," Smith said. "They didn't show up ready to compete and had trouble staying focused the whole game. We finally played somebody other than the Northstars and I really figured they would come out fired up, but they didn't."
The Comets and Northstars will play their final head-to-head game of the season on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Northstars 13, Medicine Hat 5
Medicine Hats Knights 010 400 0 - 5 8 2
Havre Northstars 371 020 X - 13 11 6
Shawn Shellenberg (1); Katlin Numweiler (6) and Brenden Lenz; Austin Small and Patch Wirtzberger.
WP - Small; LP - Shellenberg.
KNIGHTS HITTING - Curtis Archer 1-4; Lee Fruson 0-4; Brandon Anhorn 2-4; Tyler Hodges 1-3; Katlin Numweiler 0-3; Brenden Lanz 2-3; Justin Barsness 1-3; John Reinbolt 1-2; Dustin Thompson 0-3.
NORTHSTARS HITTING - Sean Peterson 1-3 (RBI); Patch Wirtzberger 2-3 (RBI); Austin Small 2-4 (4 RBI); Ben Erickson 1-4 (RBI); Jeff Tibbals 1-3 (RBI); Scott Ladenburg 2-4 (RBI); Jess McLain 1-3; Eric Fanning 0-4; Josh Lowe 1-3.
2B - Wirtzberger, Erickson
3B - Peterson, Tibbals, Anhorn
HR - Lanz
Northstars 8, Medicine Hat 2
Medicine Hat Knights 000 200 0 - 2 8 5
Havre Northstars 105 002 X - 8 9 2
Brandon Anhorn and Tyler Hodges; Jeff Tibbals and Josh Morse.
WP - Tibbals; LP - Anhorn.
KNIGHTS HITTING - Dustin Thompson 0-3; Brenden Lenz 1-4; Brandon Anhorn 2-4; Tyler Hodges 1-4; Katlin Numweiler 0-3; Justin Barsness 1-3; Shawn Shellenberg 2-2; Kyle Telke 1-3; Cullen Bradshaw 0-1; Curtis Archer 0-1; John Reinbolt 0-2.
NORTHSTARS HITTING - Sean Peterson 2-4 (2 RBI); Patch Wirtzberger 1-3; Austin Small 0-3 (2 RBI); Ben Erickson 1-2; Jeff Tibbals 1-3; Scott Ladenburg 1-2; Eric Fanning 1-3; Josh Morse 2-3; Richard Jarvis 0-2.
2B - Peterson, Hodges
3B - Erickson
HR - none
Medicine Hat 11 , Comets 0
Medicine Hat Knights 117 11 - 11 10 1
Havre Comets 000 00 - 0 3 2
Curtis Archer and Brendan Lanz; Mike Erickson and Ryan Callahan.
WP - Archer; LP - Erickson.
KNIGHTS HITTING - Shawn Shellenberg 1-3; Lee Fruson 0-4; Brandon Anhorn 0-2; Tyler Hodges 2-4; Brendan Lanz 1-3; Katlin Numweiler 2-4; Justin Barsness 3-4; John Reinbolt 0-1; Curtis Archer 1-2.
COMETS HITTING - Logan Reichelt 1-2; Anthony Wirtzberger 0-1; Ryan Callahan 0-2; Tanner Donovan 1-2; Jeremiah Moog 1-2; Bryan Heath 0-2; Mike Erickson 0-1; Seth Jensen 0-0; Tanner Abdallah 0-2; Scott Vigliotti 0-2.
2B - Donovan, Barsness 2; Numweiler
3B - Lanz
HR - none
Medicine Hat 7, Comets 3
Medicine Hat Knights 001 030 3 - 7 8 0
Havre Comets 030 000 0 - 3 9 2
Kyle Telke and Tyler Hodges; Anthony Wirtzberger and Ryan Callahan.
WP - Telke; LP - Wirtzberger.
KNIGHTS HITTING - Dustin Thompson 1-3; Lee Fruson 1-4; Brandon Anhorn 1-4; Tyler Hodges 1-4; Katlin Numweiler 0-2; Justin Barsness 3-3; Jon Reinbolt 0-3; Kyle Telke 1-3; Curtis Archer 3-4.
COMETS HITTING - Logan Reichelt 1-3; Anthony Wirtzberger 2-3; Ryan Callahan 1-4; Tanner Donovan 1-2; Jeremiah Moog 0-3; Michael Erickson 0-2; Bryan Heath 1-1; Marshall Cartwright 1-3; Seth Jensen 1-2; Scott Vigliotti 0-1; Spencer Ivers 0-2; Tanner Abdallah 0-1.
2B - Barsness
3B - none
HR - none