Comets, Northstars play big league’ games
Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
As the American Legion baseball season comes to a close, both the Havre Northstars and the Havre Comets will have plenty at stake as they each prepare for crucial mid-week conference showdowns. The Havre Northstars will travel across the border for back-to-back doubleheaders against Lethbridge in Lethbridge, Alberta, on Wednesday, beginning at noon, and in Fort McLeod on Thursday at 3 p.m. The Northstars locked up a spot in the district tournament a while ago, but still have a chance to improve their standing in the conference standings as well as gain some much needed momentum heading into next weekend’s Northern District tournament in Vauxhall, Alberta. “We are looking to go up there and win all four games,” Northstars head coach Mickey Williams said. “It might not affect the standings that much, but it is important for us to play well. We want to be playing our best baseball, when we get to the district tournament.” The Northstars won three out of four games at the Billings Class A Tournament this past weekend, and if they can sweep both the Lethbridge Miners and the Fort McLeod Royals, then they will have plenty of momentum as they play host the Vauxhall on Sunday in a critical doubleheader. “We just need to be a little bit more consistent,” Williams said. “I think our pitching and defense are both good enough to win right now. We just have to be more consistent at the plate.” The likely starting pitchers against Lethbridge will be Sean Peterson and Chase Castloo. Both Castloo and Peterson pitched last Thursday against the Billings Blue Jays, so they will be pitching on an extra days rest. On Thursday, the Northstars will most likely start Tanner Donovan and either John Christian or Anthony Wirtzberger
Donovan will also help lead the Northstars’ offense, as he has been swinging a hot bat as of late going 7-for- 16 with 7 RBIs in his last four games. Peterson has been very productive for the Northstars in the leadoff spot going 8-for-20 in his last four games with two RBIs and seven runs scored. Meanwhile, the Comets enter the final week of the season still fighting for a spot in the district tournament. The top four teams in each division qualify for the district tournament, and with four games to play, the Comets hold a two-game lead over the Great Falls Stallions for fourth place in the Northern A District South Sub Division. But, with the Comets final four games coming against district leaders Lewistown and Vauxhall, holding onto that coveted fourth will not be easy. “It’s definitely going to be a big challenge for us,” Comets head coach Steve Fanning said. “We have greatly improved since the season has gone on and hopefully we can find a way to get a win this week, because if we don’t, our season might be over.” If the Comets can get just one win, their position would be greatly improved and their first crack at it will come on Wednesday as they play host to the Lewistown Redbirds at 3 p.m. The Comets were swept handily by the Redbirds in Lewistown, but Fanning is hoping that his team can use the home field advantage to find a way to earn a much-needed split.
“I think you always have an advantage at home,” Fanning said. “And, I think we are a much better team than when we played Lewistown the first time. The kids know how important these games are and I am sure they will be ready to go.” Seth Jensen and Logan Reichelt have been two of the Comets best starting pitchers this season and they will each likely get a start against the Redbirds. “Logan has pitched really well here at the end of the season,” Fanning said. “I really like what I have seen from him. And Seth has just been consistent all year long. He has probably been our best pitcher this season.” The Comets’ offense is also paced by Reichelt, who is coming off of a threehit game against the Stallions on Sunday in Great Falls. Ryan Callahan, Scott Vigliotti, Andrew Lindquist and Marshall Cartwright ar also swinging the bat well for the Comets during the stretch run of the season. “The biggest thing for us is that we need to avoid giving up big innings,” Fanning said. “We also have got to take advantage when we have runners in scoring position because we are playing better teams and we have to take advantage of every opportunity. “Everyone knows that our season is going to come down to how we play in the next four games,” he added. “All we can do is go out there and give it our best shot.” The Comets will host Lewistown on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Legion Park in Havre. The Northstars will play in Lethbridge on Wednesday at noon and in Fort McLeod on Thursday at 3 p.m.