Havre Daily News Sports
For the most part, the Havre Comets American Legion Baseball team has had a very productive 2005 campaign. There have been some up-and-down moments.
Unfortunatley, an up moment was follwed by one of those big down moments Thursday night in the opening round of the Northern District tournament at Memorial Field in Havre.
The Comets surrendered 14 runs on 14 hits and were beaten 14-4 by the second-seededVauxhall Spurs in seven innings.
The loss drops the Comets into the loser-out bracket, where they are now just one loss away from missing out on the 2005 Class A Legion State tournament next week in Sidney.
Vauxhall broke open a close 3-3 tie in the bottom of the third inning when first baseman T.J. Howg ripped a two-out double off of starting pitcher Jeremiah Moog. The double plated two runs and gave the Spurs the lead for good.
Vauxhall tacked on two more runs in the inning to lead 7-3. But it wasn't Vauxhall's 14 hits that concerned Havre manager Andy Smith. It was the Comets lack of poise, focus and their inability to execute fundamentals during the game.
"Our big problem was we just gave away too many free bases," Smith said. "I thought we played pretty well, but there were times when we just didn't make the right throws and didn't make very good decisions on where to go with the ball when they had runners on base. Not playing with good fundamentals really hurt us tonight."
The Spurs also used 10 stolen bases on the night to further advance their cause, and that fact also irked Smith a little bit.
"We didn't do a good job of keeping runners close," he said. "That is something we have to do a better job of and help our pitchers out a little bit.
"We put our pitchers in some tough situations with that tonight, and again that is just giving away too many free bases."
Havre had its moments early in the game. The Comets jumped out on top in the first inning when Moog grounded out to score Jess McLain to get himself an early 1-0 lead. The Spurs came right back with a run in the bottom half of the inning, but the Comets responded when McLain and Anthony Wirtzberger scored on a pair of Vauxhall errors.
However, Moog couldn't hold the Spurs down for long. Lead-off hitter Brendan Odland got the Vauxhall route started with a single in the third and left fielder Ryan Hutchison followed that up with a single, swhich set up Howg's double.
Vauxhall also scored four more runs in the fifth inning and then turned things over to starting pitcher Mitch Schaafsma.
With an 11-4 lead, Schaafsma cruised home in the final two innings of the game as the Havre bats fell silent. Schaafsma went the distance for the win, allowing just five hits and striking out six.
Moog picked up the loss but pitched well. Havre was led in hitting by Wirtzberger. He had a pair of singles on the night as well as an RBI and a run scored. The Spurs got a 4-for-6 night from Odland, while Howg reached base four times and had a pair of RBIs.
The Comets will now advance into the loser's bracket where they will face Medicine Hat today at 12:30. The loser is out of the tournament.
Still, Smith remains optimistic about his team's chances today and for the rest of the tournament.
"Hopefully we come out against Medicine Hat and play baseball like we're capable of," he said. "If we do that, then we'll be fine because we're 50 games into the season and we are a pretty sound fundamental team, much more than we showed at times tonight."
Spurs 14, Comets 4 (7 innings)
Havre Comets 102 010 0 - 4 5 6
Vauxhall Spurs 124 043 x - 14 14 5
Jeremiah Moog (5), Mike Erickson and Ryan Callahan; Mitch Schaafsma and Zack Rhodes. WP - Schaafsma. LP - Moog.
Comets Hitting - Jess McLain 0-2, Anthony Wirtzberger 2-4, Tanner Donovan 0-4, Jeremiah Moog 0-4 (RBI), Logan Reichelt 1-4, Bryan Heath 0-3, Ryan Callahan 1-3 (RBI), Richard Jarvis 1-3, Marshall Cartwright 0-1, Mike Erickson 0-1.
SPURS HITTING - Brendan Odland 4-5, Ryan Hutchison 2-3, T.J. Howg 1-4, Travis Senkow 3-5, Jaden Odland 1-3, Brendan Miller 0-2, Brett Conrad 1-5, Damon Howg 1-3, Zack Rhodes 1-4.
2B - Howg
3B - none
HR - none
Great Falls 7, Medicine Hat 2
The sixth-seeded Great Falls Sparkies grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, rolling to a 7-2 upset over the third seeded Medicine Hat Knights on Thursday afternoon at Legion Field.
Great Falls steadily built on its early lead, scoring a run in the fourth and picking up a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth inning off of Knight starter MacKenzie Blezard.
Medicine Hat tried to rally getting RBI singles from Curtis Archer and Justin Barsness off of Sparkie starter Ryan Beecroft. However, Reid Tramelli came in and shut the door for Great Falls to get the save.
Beecroft was solid for seven innings, allowing just the two runs on six hits. He struck out seven, while walking just one. Tramelli allowed just one hit in relief.
Offensively, the Sparkies got three hits and two runs scored from lead-off hitter Jake Meierhoff. Cody Dobson had a pair of hits, including an RBI double. Sean Doran and Taylor Ferradas each drove in runs in the win.
Great Falls will face second-seeded Vauxhall tonight at 7:30 p.m., while Medicine Hat will take on the Havre Comets today at 12:30 p.m.
Sparkies 7, Knights 2
Great Falls Sparkies 100 122 010 - 7 10 2
Medicine Hat Knights 000 000 110 - 2 7 5
Ryan Beecroft (8); Reid Tramelli and Tyler Brinka; MacKenzie Blezard and Brendan Lanz.
WP - Beecroft (6-3). LP - Blezard. SV - Tramelli
Sparkies Hitting - Jake Meierhoff 3-5; Taylor Shanahan 1-5; Ryan Beecroft 1-5; Sean Doran 0-5 (RBI); Cody Dobson 2-4 (RBI); Tyler Brinka 1-4; Taylor Ferradas 1-2 (RBI); Darren Halbig 0-3; Austin Crisman 0-4; Colin Egan 1-1; Jake Tucker 0-1.
KNIGHTS HITTING - Shawn Shellenberg 0-5; Lee Fruson 0-5; MacKenzie Blezard 1-3; Brandon Anhorn 0-3; Brendan Lanz 1-3; Justin Barsness 2-4 (RBI); John Reinbolt 0-2; Katlin Nunweiler 1-2; Curtis Archer 2-4 (RBI); Tyler Hodges 0-2.
2B - Nunweiler, Dobson, Egan, Lanz.
3B - none
HR - none