Havre Daily News Sports Editor
Two games, two very different outcomes. For one game Wednesday at Legion Field, the Havre Comets looked like an elite team in the Northern District. But it was just one game. In the other, it looked like the same Comet team that has battled inconsistency in the field and at the plate all season.
Still, managing a split against the perennial conference power Lethbridge Miners was something the Comets desperately needed to move up in the Northern District standings.
Havre played some of its best baseball of the season, picking up a big 5-3 win over the Miners in the opening game.
The Comets wasted little time, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Jeremiah Moog singled and moved into scoring position by stealing second base. He later scored on Logan Reichelt's double into the left-center gap. Reichelt would eventually score on Bryan Heath's ground ball to second.
Havre pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second. Jess McLain was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Scott Vigliotti's single down the left-field line.
The three-run lead seemed like more than enough for Comet starter Anthony Wirtzberger, who cruised through the first five innings without giving up a run. Wirtzberger was consistently ahead of hitters early on, keeping the ball low in the strike zone and forcing Lethbridge hitters to beat the ball into the ground.
Havre's defense also aided him, turning a pair of double plays to get out of jams.
However, Lethbridge finally got to Wirtzberger in the sixth inning. Kyle Rokosh laced an RBI single down the third-base line past the outstretched glove of Richard Jarvis. Designated hitter Beau Barthel followed that up with a double that scored Rokosh.
Wirtzberger was able to get out of the inning. Moog tossed out Barthel from centerfield as he was trying to score to get the second out, and Wirtzberger struck out Colton Bareshinebone to end the inning. But the damage was done, as Lethbridge tied the game at 3-3.
The Comets simply would not go away. Ryan Callahan, Seth Jensen and Jess McLain each were hit by pitches to get a rally going. Jarvis drove home Callahan with a single to right and Scott Vigliotti executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Tanner Abdallah, who came into run for Jensen.
The two runs were all that Wirtzberger needed. He held the Miners scoreless in the seventh with a little help from Vigliotti, who snared a line drive and picked off a runner for a nifty double play.
Wirtzberger picked up the win, going seven innings and surrendering eight hits for three earned runs. He struck out three batters and walked just two.
Offensively, the Comets got two hits and two RBIs from Vigliotti and two hits and an RBI from Reichelt.
But as well as Havre played in the first game, all of that good feeling disappeared in a big way in the first inning of a 15-8 loss in the nightcap.
The Comets looked nothing like the team in the first game, particularly in the first inning. They committed five errors and the Miners pounded out seven hits off starter Seth Jensen to score 11 runs in a half-inning that took almost 40 minutes.
Havre didn't just dig itself into a hole. The Comets dug a double-digit canyon. Still, they tried to climb back into the game inning by inning, starting in the bottom of the first. Reichelt ripped an RBI single to left to get the Comets on the board. Lethbridge helped out Havre a little when Jarvis' bases-loaded single slid under the glove of Barthel in left field, scoring all three runs.
Lethbridge's early offensive burst was tempered some by Comet reliever Michael Erickson, who held the Miners scoreless over the next three innings. In that time, Havre added two more runs on an RBI single from Moog, while McLain scored on a passed ball to cut the lead to 11-6.
But the Miners picked up three big insurance runs in the fifth inning. Rokosh ripped a two-run double and Aaron Groves added an RBI single. Lethbridge added another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
Havre managed two more runs in the sixth. Seth Jensen ripped a bases-loaded single to score two runs, but the rally ended there and so did the Comets' hopes of winning the game.
Heath and Jarvis paced the Comet offense with two hits apiece. Jensen took the loss, giving up 11 runs, only seven of which were earned. Erickson pitched well in relief, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out two batters.
The Comets will return to action Friday when they travel to Conrad for a doubleheader with the Tri-County Cardinals.
Comets 5, Miners 3
Lethbridge Miners 000 003 0 - 3 8 0
Havre Comets 210 002 X - 5 7 1
Joel Dragland and Jordan Purchinger; Anthony Wirtzberger and Ryan Callahan.
WP - Wirtzberger; LP - Dragland.
MINERS HITTING - Jeff Wilson 1-3; Brock Fulkerth 2-2; Kurtis Kaskiw 0-3; Kyle Rokosh 1-3 (RBI); Corey Gerstenberger 0-2; Braeden Horon 2-3; Paul Kelly 0-1; Colton Bareshinebone 1-3; Jordan Purchinger 0-2; Beau Barthel 1-1 (RBI).
COMETS HITTING - Marshall Cartwright 0-4; Jeremiah Moog 1-3; Logan Reichelt 2-3 (RBI); Bryan Heath 0-3 (RBI); Ryan Callahan 0-2; Seth Jensen 0-2; Jess McLain 1-1; Richard Jarvis 1-3 (RBI); Scott Vigliotti 2-3 (2 RBI).
2B - Reichelt, Horon, Barthel
3B - none
HR - none
Miners 15, Comets 8
Lethbridge Miners 11 00 030 1 - 15 13 3
Havre Comets 4 10 102 X - 8 8 5
Braeden Horon and Jordan Purchinger; Seth Jensen (1), Michael Erickson and Bryan Heath .
WP - Horon; LP - Jensen
MINERS HITTING - Jeff Wilson 1-5; Brock Fulkerth 3-3; Kurtis Kaskiw 1-4 (2 RBI); Kyle Rokosh 4-5 (4 RBI); Aaron Groves 3-5 (4 RBI); Adrian Diakow 0-5; Jordan Purchinger 1-4; Cody Persinger 0-3; Beau Barthel 0-3.
COMETS HITTING - Jess McLain 0-2; Jeremiah Moog 1-4; Bryan Heath 2-3 (RBI); Logan Reichelt 1-4 (RBI); Michael Erickson 0-2; Richard Jarvis 2-3; Tanner Abdallah 1-3; Scott Vigliotti 0-2; Seth Jensen 1-3 (2 RBI); Anthony Wirtzberger 1-1.
2B - Kaskiw, Rokosh 2, Groves 2
3B - Jarvis
HR - none