Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
Frustration. The word sums up the Havre Comets’ experience this weekend at the Whitefish American Legion Baseball tournament. The Comets came away with just one win out of five chances after coming up agonizingly short in a few games they could have won. “We were in every single game,” Comet head coach Steve Fanning said. “We just made some mistakes and gave up a few big innings. For the most part I thought we played pretty well, but we have got to do a better job of closing out games. We just have to play all seven innings of each baseball game and we aren’t doing that right now.” The weekend wasn’t a complete loss the team played some solid ball in its final contest. The Comets opened up the tournament Wednesday against Meade, a ball club from Spokane, Wash. Havre got off to a hot start, picking up two runs in each of the first two innings for an early 4-1 lead. Meade answered in the bottom of the third when Comet pitcher Jeremy Jensen gave up a two-run double to cut the lead to 4-3. The Comets answered right back in the fourth with a run when Logan Reichelt scored after drawing a walk, stealing a base and scoring on a ground ball by Andrew Lindquist to give the Comets a 5-3 advantage. As they have done all season long, the Comets saw their lead crumble in the final two innings as Meade crushed Havre pitching on its way to scoring five runs in two innings. Suddenly the Comets faced a three-run deficit entering the seventh and final inning, but their bats let them down when they needed offense the most. They failed to score, giving Meade the 8-5 win. “We came out early and hit the ball well, we just couldn’t hang onto the lead,” Fanning said. “We let up a little bit late in the game and it cost us.” Also on Wednesday, the Comets squared off against the Glacier Twins. For the second time in a day, the Comets blew a lead late to cost themselves a chance at victory. After surrendering a run in the first inning, the Comets’ offense exploded for seven runs in the second, giving them a commanding lead. As the game wore on, the lead slowly began to slip away. After the Twins racked up four runs in the fifth inning, the Comets found themselves in a tied game. The Comets responded well, though, as they notched three runs in the sixth. Reichelt scored on an Andrew Lindquist double and Lindquist later scored on a Twins’ error. Two batters later, Todd Roe scored on a Nick Nault single, putting the Comets ahead 10-7. The Comets continued their late-game surge with two more runs in the seventh and they held a 12-7 lead, leaving them just three outs away from a victory. They didn’t get a single one of those outs. The Twins scored six runs in the final inning to steal victory from the Comet’s grasp, as they fell to the Twins 13-12 in a heartbreaking defeat. “It was a very disappointing game,” Fanning said. “We had a good chance to win, but we just made too many mistakes. We hit the ball great and our pitching was decent, we just gave up a couple of big innings.” The Comets took on Kootenai and lost out on another good chance at victory in a 12-6 loss Thursday. Kootenai scored five runs in the first three innings to take a 5-2 lead. Then, in the bottom of the third, the Comets amassed three runs to tie the game. Jeremy Jensen walked and Lindquist singled to put two runners on with one out for Ryan Callahan and he came through for the Comets in a big way with a three-run home run. Kootenai came back with two runs in the fourth and five in the fifth to give Havre’s opponents a 12-5 advantage. The Comets scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to narrow the deficit to six runs, but they wouldn’t score again. In their fourth game of the tournament, the Comets met a challenge as the took the field Friday against Mission Valley. Mission Valley was one of the more talented teams in the tournament, and it didn’t take long for the team to show off its abilities against the Comets. Mission Valley racked up five first-innings runs to give it a lead it would never relinquish. Havre scored once in the second, with Marshall Cartwright scoring on a single by Robert The Boy. The Comets didn’t score again against Mission Valley as they lost their fourth-straight game 7-1. “I thought that (Mission Valley) was probably the best team in the entire tournament,” Fanning said. “We played them pretty tough, but we just couldn’t recover from that one big inning. Our guys played well, but we just didn’t get the hits we needed to win.” In their tournament finale, the Comets took on a team from Whitman County, Wash. After two tough losses to open the tournament and the Comets’ struggles in the next two games, it was beginning to look as though they were going to leave Whitefish without a victory. But the Comets saved their best for last as they used some solid pitching and an explosive offense to roll to a 9-2 win. Havre scored five runs in the first and four runs in the seventh. Whitman scored just one run each in the first and third innings. “I was really proud of the way the guys played in the last game,” Fanning said. “They easily could have given up after those tough losses, but they didn’t. They kept playing hard and I think they showed a lot of heart and determination.” The Comets will be in action again Tuesday as they travel to Lewistown for a key conference doubleheader. The action will get under way at 3 p.m.