Havre Daily News
After struggling somewhat last weekend, the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team was looking for signs of improvement, and hopefully a pair of victories Sunday afternoon.
The Northstars were able to achieve both goals with a two-game sweep of the Great Falls Stallions by scores of 4-3 and 11-6 at Legion Field in Havre.
In the opening game of the Class A doubleheader, the Stallions got on the board first when Cole McPherson scored on a double by Tanner Bleskin to give the Stallions the early 1-0 lead. The Northstars responded quickly, though, and evened the score when Sean Peterson scored on a single by Chase Castloo in the bottom of the first inning.
In the third, the Stallions took the lead back after a slew of Northstar mistakes. Northstars pitcher Tanner Donovan walked four batters in the inning, setting up the Stallions' two runs and giving them a 3-1 lead. Peterson knocked a leadoff single in the bottom of the third and eventually scored on a Stallion error to cut the deficit to 3-2.
“We made too many mental mistakes early on in the game,” Northstar head coach Mickey Williams said. “We walked a lot of guys and then we made some errors in the field. We also were having problems putting the bat on the ball, so we didn't get off to a good start.”
Pitcher Anthony Wirtzberger came in in relief of Donovan in the third inning and was able to steady the ship for the Northstars. Wirtzberger dominated during the four-plus innings he was on the mound. He gave just one hit while striking out five and walking just two.
With the Stallions' offense shut down, the Northstars rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Small scored on an error. With the game still tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, John Christian singled and put himself in scoring position by stealing a base. Castloo then delivered in the clutch with a game-winning RBI-double to give the Northstars the 4-3 win.
“Anthony Wirtzberger came on and pitched really well for us,” Williams said. “He gave us some very good innings and he allowed us to stay in the game until we could get some offense going. Finally we were able to get some big hits when we needed them.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Northstars wasted no time gaining the upper hand as they exploded for five runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Northstars took advantage of five walks and hit batsmen to set the stage for a run-scoring single by Wirtzberger that eventually led to a 5-0 lead.
The Northstars continued building their lead in the second and third innings with three more runs. At the end of the third inning they led by the score of 8-1
“It wasn't that we hit the ball really well, we just took advantage of their mistakes,” Williams said. “They walked us a lot and they made some bad errors, so we really didn't have to do a whole lot. We got the hits when we needed to, but our offense still needs to be better.”
After being spotted a huge 8-1 cushion, Castloo set out to protect the big lead. Castloo gave up a few runs here and there as the game progressed, but for the most part he was able to stay out of trouble. He gave up a three-run home run to Tanner Bleskin in the top of the seventh that made the score 11-6, but it was too little too late for the Stallions. Castloo struck out the next batter and got Brady Kangas to fly out to end the ballgame. Castloo had a solid outing in which he gave up six runs on nine hits stretched out over seven innings. Castloo also struck out eight batters while only issuing one walk in the win.
“It was good for us to get the win in both games, but we still need to play a lot better than we are right now,” Williams said. “We are not hitting the ball very well right now and we need to start improving in that area or things are going to be tough. Our pitching is coming around all right and so is our defense. The main thing is that we just need to cut out the mistakes and keep getting better.”
The Northstars will be back in action when they take on the Havre Comets on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Northstars 4, Stallions 3
Great Falls 102 000 0 - 3 3 2
Havre 101 100 1 - 4 7 1
WP - Anthony Wirtzberger, LP -Brady Kangas.
Great Falls Stallions - Austin Larch 0-4, Spencer Thompson 0-1, Cole McPherson 2-2, Tanner Bleskin 1-3, Dustin Schultz 0-3, Jake Mansch 0-2, Aaron Remus 0-2, Tyson Wilke 0-2, Aaron Stucker 0-2, Will Sutherland 0-2, Cameron Turner 0-1.
Havre Northstars - Sean Peterson 2-4, John Christian 1-4, Bryan Heath 1-2, Chase Castloo 2-4, Jess McLain 0-1, Austin Small 0-3, Scott Ladenburg 0-2, Josh Morse 1-3, Jeremiah Moog 0-2.
Northstars 11, Stallions 6
Great Falls 001 020 3 - 6 9 1
Havre 512 003 x - 11 8 0
WP - Chase Castloo, LP - Jake Mansch.
Great Falls Stallions - Alex Waltari 2-4, Aaron Stucker 2-2, Cole McPherson 1-4, Tanner Bleskin 3-4, Jake Mansch 0-1, Dustin Schultz 0-3, Will Sutherland 0-1, Kendal Blair 1-3, Bray Kangas 0-2, Spencer Thompson 0-2, Cameron Turner 0-2, Stever Clough 0-1, Jesse Blair 0-1.
Havre Northstars - Sean Peterson 1-3, John Christian 0-3, Josh Lowe 1-2, Bryan Heath 2-3, Tanner Donovan 2-3, Austin Small 1-3, Anthony Wirtzberger 1-4, Scott Ladenburg 0-1, Josh Morse 0-2.