Havre Daily News
Few would have believed that with four games left in the conference season, the Havre High softball team would still have a legitimate chance to qualify for its first ever appearance in the Class A state tournament. But, if the Ponies win another game or two, they may just make believers out of everyone.
After starting off the season with four straight losses against Polson and Libby it was beginning to look like another long season for the Blue Ponies. However, their fortunes began to change when they managed to split doubleheaders with both Whitefish and Columbia Falls, thrusting themselves right back into the thick of the conference race.
It may seem far-fetched that Havre (2-6 overall, 2-6 conference) is still alive for a state tournament berth with only two wins, but the Ponies have four games left in the conference season against Browning and Ronan, two teams that aren't exactly at the top of league. And, if the Ponies can win out starting on Saturday with their game against Browning at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field, the Ponies will be in an enviable position.
“It's really a must-win game for us,” HHS head coach Bob Evans said. “We got two big wins against Whitefish and Columbia Falls and that gave us a chance in the race. We have already played the tough teams on our schedule and the girls are now confident in their ability to win. We shouldn't see anybody for the rest of the season that we are unable to compete with.”
Before the Ponies get too far ahead of themselves, they have to take care of business against Browning.
Browning hasn't played very well as of late, losing 13-1 on Tuesday against Columbia Falls and the Indians also fell 36-0 and 13-1 to Libby the week before.
The Indians have a couple of solid pitchers in Jessie Scott and Noel Higgins, who are also both solid at the plate. The Indians also have a couple of other solid bats with Katie Boggs, Toby Ost and Rikki Ollinger.
The Ponies will counter with pitchers Kelsey Evans and Steph Stremcha. Evans will most likely get the start for Havre after throwing a one-hit shutout against Whitefish in a 10-0 victory last Saturday.
“We split with them last season so if we play well we should have a good chance to beat them this year,” Evans said. “They have a couple of good pitchers but as long as we get a solid pitching outing from Kelsey or Steph and we don't make any mistakes we should be able to beat them.”
Evans also leads a Blue Pony offense that is coming off of a 10-run offensive explosion against Whitefish last Saturday.
Evans isn't the only dangerous bat in the Pony lineup though as Sam Mack, McKayla Patterson, Laura Zentmire and others give the Ponies some very solid hitters at both the top and the middle of the batting order.
“We have got some great pitching as of late and we just have to make sure we can keep hitting the ball well,” Evans said. “Our biggest problem this season has not been scoring runs consistently. We could have won a few more games but our bats let us down a little bit. So, with how we are pitching, if we can score some runs then we will be in a good position to win.”
The Ponies will take on the Indians at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field.