Havre Daily News
It didn't take long for things to get out of hand when the Havre Comets took on the Havre Northstars in American Legion baseball action Wednesday night at Legion Field in Havre.
The Northstars racked up seven runs in the first inning and the game was over before it really ever began, as the Northstars ransacked the Comets, 14-2 to improve to 3-0 in the intracity series.
After Northstars Sean Peterson and Austin Small got on base to start off the bottom of the first inning, Anthony Wirtzberger struck first blood with an RBI single which was followed by a Comets' error on a Brian Heath groundball that allowed a run to score, and just like that it was 2-0 with no outs.
Then, instead of things getting better, they only got worse for the Comets and starting pitcher Todd Roe as Chase Castloo belted a two-run triple, which put the Northstars up 4-0. Before the first-inning carnage was all over the Northstars had taken a 7-0 lead.
“We came out and hit the ball very hard in the first inning,” Northstars head coach Mickey Williams said. “We were able to take advantage of a few mistakes by their defense and we also made a lot of good contact. We were patient and we waited for the right pitch.”
Following the disastrous first inning, the action slowed down quite a bit. Tanner Donovan, the starting pitcher for the Northstars, had things on cruise control for the first five innings as he held the Comets scoreless until the sixth inning when Ryan Callahan finally got the Comets on the board with an RBI-single. Two batters later Scott Vigliotti ripped a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 8-2. In all, Donovan surrendered just two runs on four hits while striking out five in six innings of work to earn the victory.
“I thought that Tanner pitched pretty well,” Williams said. “He did a nice job keeping the ball down and throwing strikes. He kept his pitch count pretty low, which is a good thing and even though he ran into a little bit of trouble in the sixth, I was pleased with his effort.”
Said Comets head coach Steve Fanning: “Offensively we have got to be a lot better, we need to find a way to score some runs or we are not going to win any games. We are just really struggling at the plate. Our pitching has been ok, Todd got a little roughed up in the first inning, but after that he did fine. Our defense didn't help him out a whole lot and neither did our offense for that matter.”
The Northstars offense cooled off quite a bit after the first inning. The Northstars scored only one run in the fifth inning.
However, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Northstars offense exploded for a six-run inning.
Peterson started the inning off with a walk and a stolen base. Then, after Small singled, Wirtzberger singled in another run to make the score 9-2. After another walk, Castloo knocked in two more runs with a single. With the score 12-2 an error on a simple double-play ball scored two more runs giving the Northstars a 14-2 lead.
“We struggled a little bit after the first inning,” Williams said. “Our pitch selection was not quite as good and our guys just kind of lost their concentration a little bit. But, when you don't play for ten days or whatever it was and you get a big lead like that it is really easy to lose concentration.
“Then we had another big inning in the sixth, they made a couple of errors that hurt them and we were able to hit the ball pretty hard,” Williams added. “Overall I was pretty pleased with how our guys played. We made a couple of mental mistakes, but none that really hurt us. Especially for our team coming off a pretty long layoff I think they did a pretty good job.”
Down by 12 runs, the Comets had to score at least three runs to extend the game because of the 10-run mercy rule and unfortunately they were not able to muster any more offense and after three quick outs inning the game was over.
Castloo had an outstanding day at the plate going 2-3 with four RBI's for and also three runs scored to lead the Northstars. Wirtzberger went 3-4 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Josh Morse also added two RBIs for the Northstars.
Roe was stuck with the loss for Comets after giving up eight runs on nine hits with six runs earned in five innings of work. Logan Reichelt went 2-3 with a run scored, Ryan Callahan was 1-2 with an RBI and Vigliotti was 1-3 with an RBI for the Comets.
“Right now we are just not playing very good baseball,” Fanning said. “I don't know what it is but if we are going to get better someone is going to have to step up and be a leader. We are trying to find ways to improve, but that is not going to happen until the guys step up and start getting after it a little more.”
The Comets will play on Saturday when they face Tri-County at 3 p.m. at the Legion Ball Field. The Comets will also face the Great Stallions in Havre on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.
The Northstars won't be back in action until Monday when they travel to Great Falls to take on the Great Falls Sparkies.
Northstars 14, Comets 2
Comets 000 002 0 - 2 4 3
Northstars 700 016 x - 14 14 1
WP - Tanner Donovan
LP - Todd Roe
Comets - Logan Reichelt 2-3, Marshall Cartwright 0-3, Ryan Callahan 1-2, Andrew Lindquist 0-2, Scott Vigliotti 1-3, Todd Roe 0-3, Nick Nault 0-1, Seth Jensen 0-3, Jeremy Jensen 0-2, Josh Haas 0-1, Robert The Boy 0-2.
Northstars - Sean Peterson 1-4, Austin Small 1-3, Anthony Wirtzberger 3-4, Bryan Heath 2-3, Chase Castloo 2-3, Jeremiah Moog 1-4, Jess McLain 1-2, John Christian 1-4, Josh Morse 0-4, Scott Ladenburg 1-1.