Havre Daily News
Experience in late game situations turned out to be the difference in a hotly contested matchup between the Havre Northstars and Havre Comets in an American Legion baseball game Wednesday night at Legion Field, as the Northstars squeaked out a 3-1 victory.
In a low-scoring contest that turned out to be a pitcher's dual, execution in clutch situations such as the one in the top of the seventh inning when the Northstars led 2-1 and had runners on first and second with no outs and Josh Morse coming up to the plate, turned out to be the difference in the game.
Morse, a savvy veteran laid down a textbook bunt to the right side of the field assuring that both runners advanced, giving the Northstars runners on second and third with only one out.
Then as John Christian laid down a second straight bunt, Tanner Donovan dashed towards home plate as the unsuspecting Comets could do nothing but watch. Donovan slid in safely at home, giving the Northstars a 3-1 lead that they would never relinquish.
“It was a hard-fought Northstars-Comets game,” Northstars head coach Mickey Williams said. “Everyone hit the ball well, and both teams pitched well, in the end it just came to to executing in certain late game situations and we were able to execute and they didn't when they had to.”
The Northstars were led by a solid outing from pitcher Anthony Wirtzberger, who threw a complete game in which he surrendered just one run while striking out seven and walking only two.
“Anthony did a nice job out on the mound,” Williams said. “He threw a lot of strikes and he got a lot of ground ball outs. I think that was the most he has ever pitched before but he handled it well. He threw strikes and when you do that it's easy to get outs.”
In the final few innings the Comets had a number of opportunities to score the game-tying run, but somehow Wirtzberger and the Northstars always found a way to get themselves out of the jam.
The two most notable situations came in the bottom of the seventh after Josh Haas led off the inning with a double. The Comets eventually moved two runners into scoring position with Haas on third and Marshall Cartwright on second, but Wirtzberger got Scott Vigliotti and Ryan Callahan to groundout, ending the inning and preserving the lead.
Then in the bottom of the eighth Logan Reichelt had a one-out triple that put the Comets in prime position to cut into the lead. Spencer Ivers was called upon to pinch hit, and what ensued summed up the night for the Comets as they attempted a suicide squeeze, but Ivers failed to get the bunt down and Reichelt was tagged out at the plate.
“They took some risks and unfortunately for them, they didn't really work out too well,” Williams said. “They made some mistakes and just didn't come through with a big hit or a big play when they needed to. So we got out of some jams more because of their mistakes than anything we did.”
The Northstars took the early lead in the top of the first inning after Sean Peterson tripled and scored off a sacrifice fly by Josh Lowe. The very next batter, Chase Castloo, singled and was knocked in by an RBI double by Brian Heath giving the Northstars a 2-0 lead. The Comets scored their only run of the game when Andrew Lindquist tripled in the bottom of the fourth and then scored off an RBI double by Reichelt.
“It's good to win, but we have got to stop playing down to the level of our competition,” a disappointed Williams said. “We hit the ball hard early on but we need to do a better job of establishing ourselves in games like these, but we didn't make a whole lot of mental mistakes and we did what we had to do to win.”
The Comets will be in action on on Saturday as they play host to Medicine Hat in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. The Northstars will also play host to Medicine Hat in doubleheader action Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Northstars 3, Comets 1
Northstars 200 000 100 - 3 11 1
Comets 000 100 000 - 1 8 4
WP - Anthony Wirtzberger
LP - Jeremy Jensen
Northstars - Sean Peterson 3-5, Josh Lowe 0-2, Chase Castloo 2-5, Bryan Heath 1-4, Tanner Donovan 2-5, Austin Small 2-3, Josh Morse 1-4, John Christian 0-4, Jeremiah Moog 0-1, Jess McLain 0-2, Scott Ladenburg 0-2.
Comets - Marshall Cartwright 1-2, Scott Vigliotti 0-3, Ryan Callahan 1-4, Andrew Lindquist 2-3, Logan Reichelt 3-4, Seth Jensen 0-3, Nick Nault 0-2, Josh Haas 1-3, Todd Roe 0-4, Spencer Ivers 0-1, Robert The Boy 0-2.