Havre Daily News Sports Editor
No those scores weren't football scores. There were no missed extra points or safeties. They just looked like it.
The Havre Comets showed on Tuesday that they may have this American-Legion-baseball-hitting thing figured out. The Comets rocked the Great Falls Stallions A squad for 43 runs in two games, but only managed to come away with a split of the Northern District doubleheader at Don Olsen Memorial Field in Great Falls.
After scoring 10 runs in a win over Fort MacLeod on Sunday, the Comets continued their offensive run, ripping 13 hits en route to a 20-4 win in the opener.
Havre jumped out to an early 2-1 lead after two innings and broke things open in the top of the third as Scott Vigliotti had an RBI double and Logan Reichelt ripped a two-run home run to get things going. Bryan Heath scored Reichelt with a home run of his own to punctuate the six-run inning.
"Earlier in the season, our kids were really swinging at a lot of bad pitches," said Comets head coach Andy Smith. "But they were being very selective and we started getting pitches we could drive. It makes a big difference getting good swings instead of just flailing away at balls."
The 8-1 lead was more than enough room for Comet starting pitcher Anthony Wirtzberger, who had one of his best outings of the season. Wirtzberger cruised along, allowing single runs in the first and third and two runs in the fifth, but never really got in any trouble. He finished with eight strikeouts and just one walk in six innings.
"Anthony pitched an excellent game," Smith said. "He did a good job of hitting his spots and throwing strikes. He got ahead of batters the entire game."
Even with Wirtzberger holding the Stallions at bay, the Comets' offense wasn't finished. Havre tacked on another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth on doubles from Michael Erickson and Ryan Callahan and another RBI single from Vigliotti.
The Comets turned the game into a rout in the sixth, scoring nine runs, highlighted by Jeremiah Moog's two home runs. His first one was a two-run shot, while his second was a bases-clearing grand slam. The Comets got a little help from the Stallions pitchers, who issued two walks and three hit-batsmen.
Offensively, Moog led the charge with the two hits and seven RBIs on the day. Wirtzberger helped his own cause with four hits, while Michael Erickson was 3-5 with two doubles and three runs scored. Vigliotti also had three hits, two RBIs and scored two runs. Heath drove in three runs.
In the nightcap, the Comets' torrid hitting continued. Unfortunately, the Stallions' bats also came to life in a back-and-forth run-scoring marathon.
After the Comets grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Stallions roughed up Havre starter Tanner Donovan, scoring five runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Havre cut the deficit to 5-2 on an RBI double from Seth Jensen in the top of the second. But Great Falls added two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to go up 7-2.
However, the Stallions' lead disappeared in the third. Starter Tom Meredith walked the first four batters of the inning and then hit Ryan Callahan to score two runs. Jensen ripped his second double of the game, scoring a pair of runs. Wirtzberger added another run-scoring single to cap off the six-run inning, giving the Comets a 9-7 lead.
The Comets' lead disappeared almost as quickly. Great Falls scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning, chasing Donovan and retaking a 12-8 lead. Havre answered in the top of the fourth, scoring seven more runs, this time with RBI doubles from Wirtzberger and Heath and RBI singles from Tanner Abdallah and Vigliotti and a pair of bases-loaded walks. The burst gave Havre back the lead at 15-12.
But the bottom of the fourth wasn't much kinder to Havre pitchers. The Stallions scored eight runs on six hits, including a grand slam by John Coleman, to give the Stallions a 20-15 lead.
Havre sliced into the lead in the fifth, scoring two runs on a double from Abdallah. Great Falls answered with an insurance run in the bottom of the inning to stay up 21-17.
In the top of the sixth, Havre's offense refused to cool. Donovan led off with a solo home run, while Callahan and Jensen added RBI singles. The Comets finished with five runs in the inning giving them 22-21 lead.
Since no lead lasted more than half an inning, the Stallions retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth off of Erickson to go up 23-22.
Havre could only tie the game at 23-23 in the seventh, as Moog jacked a solo shot to start the inning. Great Falls stole the win away in the bottom of the seventh. Coleman led off with a single and later scored on Lewis' walk-off single.
"It was a tough game to lose," Smith said. "Anytime you score 23 runs you think you should win. We had our chances to win the game. We just needed to come up with one or two big plays on defense."
Jensen finished 4-6 with three RBIs, while Moog and Wirtzberger added three hits and two RBIs each. Donovan was 2-3 with 3 RBIs, while Callahan, Vigliotti and Abdallah had two hits and two RBIs each.
"You can't complain about scoring (43) runs in two games," Smith said. "It was a total team effort. Everybody hit the ball well. The bottom of our lineup came up with some big hits."
The Comets will be in action at the Havre Baseball Jamboree, which begins today at Legion Field.
Comets 21, Stallions 4
Havre Comets 116 129 - 20 13 0
Great Falls Stallions A 101 020 - 4 7 3
Anthony Wirtzberger and Bryan Heath; Jeremy Bates, Will Sutherland, Sean Pallett and Zach Griffith.
WP - Wirtzberger; LP - Bates.
COMETS HITTING - Logan Reichelt 1-4 (2 RBI); Anthony Wirtzberger 4-6; Tanner Donovan 2-3; Bryan Heath 1-5 (3 RBI); Jeremiah Moog 2-4 (7 RBI); Michael Erickson 3-5; Marshall Cartwright 0-3; Seth Jensen 0-0; Tanner Abdallah 1-3 (RBI); Ryan Callahan 0-0; Scott Vigliotti 3-4 (2 RBI).
STALLIONS HITTING - Zach Griffith 2-2; Tyson Wilke 1-3; John Coleman 1-3; Tom Meredith 1-3; Carter Lewis 1-3; Aaron Stuker 0-3; Will Sutherland 0-3; Jesse Blair 0-1; Shawn Pallet 1-1; Jeremy Bates 0-2.
2B - Erickson 2, Abdallah, Vigliotti, Griffith, Coleman, Pallet
3B - none
HR - Reichelt, Heath, Moog 2
Stallions 24, Comets 23
Havre Comets 116 725 1 - 23 12 5
Great Falls Stallions 525 812 1 - 24 25 5
Tanner Donovan (3), Tanner Abdallah (1), Michael Erickson (3) and Ryan Callahan; Tom Meredith (4), Jesse Blair (1); Zach Griffith (2) and John Coleman.
WP - Griffith; LP - Erickson.
COMETS HITTING - Logan Reichelt 1-5; Anthony Wirtzberger 3-5 (2 RBI); Bryan Heath 0-1; Tanner Donovan 2-3 (3 RBI); Jeremiah Moog 3-4 (2 RBI); Michael Erickson 0-4; Ryan Callahan 2-5 (2 RBI); Seth Jensen 4-6 (3 RBI); Marshall Cartwright 0-2; Tanner Abdallah 2-2 (2 RBI); Scott Vigliotti 2-4 (2 RBI).
STALLIONS HITTING - Zach Griffith 2-5; Tyson Wilke 2-5; John Coleman 3-4; Tom Meredith 2-5; Carter Lewis 2-6; Jeremy Bates 2-5; Jesse Blair 2-5; Aaron Stuker 3-5; Shawn Pallett 3-5.
2B - Wirtzberger, Donovan, Jensen 2, Abdallah, Meredith, Lewis, Bates
3B - none
HR - Donovan, Moog, Coleman