Havre Daily News
Needing a win to keep its state tournament hopes alive, the Havre High softball team handed the Browning Indians a devastating defeat on Saturday in Havre.
Havre hitters crushed Browning pitching from start to finish, giving starting pitcher Kelsey Evans all the run support she needed as the Ponies thumped the Indians 15-1 at the Sixth Avenue Softball Field.
The win puts the Ponies one step closer to their ultimate goal of making the Class A state tournament, as they are now 3-6 in conference play with three games remaining.
“It was a big win for us,” HHS head coach Bob Evans said. “It was a must win game. We needed to win for us to have a chance to go to state and the girls came out and played very well.
“We were able to hit the ball well and Kelsey pitched a great game,” he added. “We also played very good defense. Kelsey only had one or two strikeouts, so we had to make some plays on the ball and we made the plays when we had to. The girls are playing with a lot of confidence right now and it's beginning to show.”
Havre flew out of the gates, plating four runs on two hits in the first inning to quickly jump out to a 4-0 lead.
The onslaught continued in the bottom of the second when a couple of Browning errors allowed a run to score on a bunt by Jessica Obrecht. Sam Mack then doubled to score Obrecht to make the score 6-0.
Later on in the inning, with the score at 7-0, Steph Stremcha came up to the plate with two runners on base and two outs. She delivered with a double that scored two runs making the score 9-0 through two innings.
It was then up to Kelsey Evans to protect the big lead and she did just that for the Ponies. She allowed just one run on four hits while striking out two batters in five innings of work to earn her second straight victory.
“Kelsey has been really good for us the last couple of games,” Bob Evans said. “She is pitching well enough for us to win games. She is a big part of why we have been able to win some ball games. She is just such a great competitor and she loves to compete. When she is out on the mound, we have a good chance to win.”
Havre added three more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Tiffany Ranes had an RBI double to make it 10-0. Ranes then scored on a sacrifice fly by Erika Briese. Laura Zentmire added an RBI single scoring Evans to make it 12-0 at the end of the fourth inning.
After Browning scored its only run of the game in the top of the fourth inning, Havre added three more with Ranes, Evans and Stacey Sheppard all knocking in runs to make it 15-1.
“We had a lot of girls that were able to step up and get some big hits,” Evans said. “We are a young team and a lot of young girls like Sam Mack, Stacey Sheppard and Tiffany Ranes have been able to step up big and give us a nice boost.”
Now the Ponies will turn their attention towards a critical closing stretch of three conference games including one against Browning and two against Ronan that will determine whether or not they qualify for the state tournament.
“The girls understand how important our final three conference games are and they know we probably have to win them all,” Bob Evans said. “Hopefully we will continue to play well. We just need to keep scoring runs because we are getting good pitching, but if we want to win games we have to keep scoring runs consistently. If we can do that I think we will be able to keep winning ball games.”
The Ponies will head to Ronan for a doubleheader Friday.
Havre 15, Browning 1
Browning - 000 10 1 4 6
Havre - 453 3x 15 10 0
WP - Kelsey Evans
LP - Jessie Scott
Havre - Tiffany Ranes 2-2 2 RBI, McKayla Patterson 3-4 2 RBI, Laura Zentmire 2-3 RBI, Erika Briese 2 RBI.