Havre Daily News sports editor
On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Legion Field in Havre, the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team played as well as it has all season in a two easy victories over the Great Falls Sparkies.
The Northstars defeated the visiting Sparkies by scores of 11-1 and 8-4. Starting pitcher Austin Small led the way for the Northstars in the first game of the doubleheader, pitching five solid innings. Small allowed just one unearned run while striking out three batters and walking none.
“Austin really helped us out today in the first game,” Havre head coach Mickey Williams said. “He was very effective with his pitches today. He threw a lot of strikes and he got ahead early in the count.”
While Small took care of things on the mound, his teammates supplied him with plenty of support at the plate. The Northstars exploded for 11 runs on 11 hits, giving Small all the run support he needed.
The Northstars missed a chance for a big inning in the bottom of the first, when they scored just one run after loading the bases with no outs. But in the bottom of the third, the floodgates opened up, as the Northstars scored six runs on four hits.
John Christian started the inning off by drawing a walk. Then Brian Heath ripped a two-run double after a Chase Castloo single to extend the Havre lead to 3-0. Two batters later, Anthony Wirtzberger singled to score Heath. Josh Morse followed with an RBI groundout and Sean Peterson came up with a two-run single to put the Northstars ahead 7-0.
Castloo and Heath sparked the Northstars more than once in the contest. Castloo was 2-for-3 and scored three runs. Heath was outstanding at the plate, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
“We hit the ball really well out there today,” Williams said. “We had one inning where we missed a chance to score some runs, but except for that, I was quite pleased. It was very promising because, when we did get hits, our players hit the ball hard.
“Brian Heath had a great day at the plate and he hit the ball very well,” he added. “And Chase Castloo also did a good job. He is a very good two-strike hitter and he did a great job of getting on base and making things happen.”
Game two was more of a challenge for Havre after disposing of the Sparkies in five innings in the first game.
The Northstars took the full seven innings for their game-two 8-4 win.
With the Northstars holding a 1-0 lead after two innings, the Sparkies took their first lead of the doubleheader with a three-run third inning. With two runners on base and one out, Colin Egan knocked in two runs with a double that put them ahead 2-1. The very next batter, Taylor Shanahan, singled to score Egan and give the Sparkies a 3-1 lead.
The Northstars cut the lead in half with a run in the bottom of the third and regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Jeremiah Moog scored on a passed ball to tie the game in the fourth, and Josh Lowe scored on a sacrifice fly by Tanner Donovan to give Havre a 4-3 advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Northstars put the Sparkies away for good with a four-run inning sparked once again by Castloo. Castloo singled to start off the inning and scored off a triple by Austin Small. Anthony Wirtzberger and Moog both notched RBI singles. Rounding out the inning was Christian with an RBI groundout that gave the Northstars a commanding 8-3 lead.
The Sparkies added a meaningless run in the top of the sixth inning to make the final score 8-4.
Sean Peterson earned a complete game win for the Northstars, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking none. Fisher was the losing pitcher for the Sparkies, as he gave up six runs on seven hits in just two innings of relief.
“I thought that we played pretty well today,” Williams said. “Things are finally starting to come together for us. We played well defensively and we hit the ball well today. If we can play the way we did today, we can win quite a few games.”
The Havre Comets were also in action against the Sparkies on Saturday afternoon in Great Falls.
The Comets earned a split in the doubleheader, which turned out to be a good achievement. In the first game, the Sparkies drilled the Comets 13-3 with the win going to Reid Tramelli and the loss given to Logan Reichelt.
The Comets rebounded in game two to behind the pitching of Seth Jensen, who threw a four-hitter as the Comets won 3-2.
The Northstars and Comets will square off against each other Wednesday night in Havre.
Sparkies 13, Comets 3
Havre 100 020 - 3 6 3
Great Falls 350 104 - 13 15 5
WP - Reid Tramelli , LP - Logan Reichelt.
Havre - Logan Reichelt 0-2, Spencer Ivers 0-2, Andrew Lindquist 2-4, Ryan Callahan 2-4, Seth Jensen 0-3, Josh Haas 0-2, Scott Vigliotti 2-3, Marshall Cartwright 0-1, Robert The Boy 0-3, Kyle Surber 0-3.
Great Falls - Colin Egan 2-4, Taylor Shanahan 3-4, Sean Doran 1-4, Tyler Brinka 2-4, John Reilly 2-4, Casey Johnson 3-4, Taylor Ferradas 0-3, Josh Winterrowd 0-1.
Comets 3, Sparkies 2
Havre 001 011 0 - 3 9 0
Great Falls 200 000 0 - 2 4 4
WP - Seth Jensen, LP - Sean Doran.
Havre - Marshall Cartwright 1-5, Scott Vigilotti 1-4, Ryan Callahan 1-2, Andrew Lindquist 1-3, Logan Reichelt 2-4, Nick Nault 0-3, Spencer Ivers 1-2, Josh Hass 0-4, Kyle Surber 2-3.
Great Falls - Colin Egan 2-2, Taylor Shanahan 0-4, Tyler Brinka 0-3, Taylor Ferradas 0-2, Reid Tramelli 0-1, Casey Johnson 1-3, John Reilly 0-1, Sean Doran 0-1, Ethan Hortick 0-1, Trylan Wassman 0-1, Chad Dobson 0-1, Darren Halbig 0-2, Cory Fisher 1-1, Cody Shupe 0-1, Kyle Milligan 0-1, Joel Larance 0-1.
Northstars 11, Sparkies 1
Great Falls 000 01 - 1 4 3
Havre 016 31 - 11 11 1
WP - Austin Small, LP - Darren Halbig.
Great Falls - John Riley 2-3, Trylan Wassm 0-1, Sean Doran 0-2, Darren Halbig 0-1, Ethan Hortick 0-2, Reed Tremelli 1-2, Corey Fisher 0-1, Cody Shupe 1-2, Kyle Milligan 0-1, Lei Xu 0-1, Chad Dobson 0-1, Josh Winterrowd 0-1, Tyler Brinks 0-1.
Havre - Sean Peterson 1-4, John Christian 1-2, Tanner Donovan 1-2, Chase Castloo 2-3, Bryan Heath 3-4, Josh Lowe 1-1, Anthony Wirtzberger 2-3, Josh Morse 0-2, Josh Morse 0-2.
Northstars 8, Sparkies 4
Great Falls 003 001 0 - 4 8 2
Havre 011 240 x - 8 9 1
WP - Sean Peterson, LP - Corey Fisher.
Great Falls - Colin Egan 2-4, Taylor Shanahan 1-4, Sean Doran 1-2, Tyler Brinka 2-3, Taylor Farrada 0-2, Casey Johns 0-3, John Riley 1-3, Darren Halbig 0-2, Joel Larance 0-2, Eathan Hortick 1-1, Corey Fisher 0-1.
Havre - Josh Lowe 1-4, John Christian 0-2, Tanner Donovan 2-3, Bryan Heath 0-4, Austin Small 1-3, Anthony Wirtzberger 2-4, Scott Ladenburg 0-2, Chase Castloo 1-2, Jess McLain 0-0.