Havre Daily News
Another brick was laid in the building of the Havre High softball program as the Ponies rode the right arm of Kelsey Evans and the explosion of a stagnant offense to their second victory of the 2006 season in a doubleheader with Whitefish on Saturday afternoon in Havre.
After a tough loss in the first game of the doubleheader, Evans pitched a one-hit shutout to lead the Ponies to a 10-0 rout of the Bulldogs, giving them a well deserved split against their conference rival.
“Kelsey just had a great ballgame for us,” HHS head coach Bob Evans said. “She has pitched well lately, and she has just continued to get better each and every game.
“I don't think she even walked a batter,” he added. “She didn't have a lot of strikeouts, but she threw a lot of good pitches. She kept the ball in play and she just kept getting batters out.”
Havre got the game off to a great start. Jessica Obrecht kicked things off with a leadoff triple that would later lead to a run and a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first inning.
Havre continued to extend its lead by scoring another run in the second inning and adding two more in the third inning to go ahead 4-0. Then, in the fourth inning, the Ponies blew the game wide open with a four-run inning that put them ahead 8-0.
“In the first game, we weren't able to get much going offensively and we swung at some bad pitches. But in the second game, we were patient and we were finally able to put some good swings on the ball,” Evans said. “The girls forced their pitcher to throw strikes and then they were able to take advantage of the good pitches they got.”
The Ponies got good offensive outings from Evans, Sam Mack and Laura Zentmire, with all three players notching two hits in the win. Havre added two more runs in the fifth, putting them up 10-0 and enforcing the 10-run mercy rule. The Ponies were helped by two Whitefish errors.
“Sam Mack had a great game offensively for us and so did Kelsey,” Evans said. “Sam has given our team a real big spark. She is a good player that does a lot of things well. She is a very good fundamental player and she plays like a veteran.”
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Ponies fell victim to a few bad breaks and a solid outing by Whitefish pitcher Alana Morris.
The Bulldogs got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But the Ponies quickly answered in the bottom half of the second to tie things back up at 1-1.
Eventually, the close game came down to a couple of plays. One was early in the game when Patterson came to the plate with two runners on base. She ripped a line drive but a great defensive play robbed her of a likely two-run extra-base hit.
Then in the top of the sixth, facing a 3-2 deficit, the Ponies took out starting pitcher Steph Stremcha, who gave them more than five solid innings of work. With two outs and a chance to get out of the inning, a critical error kept the inning alive and the flood gates flew open, leading to a six-run inning for the Bulldogs and giving them a 9-2 cushion they held all the rest of the way.
“We had a chance to get out of the inning and we just made a mistake and it ended up costing us,” Evans said. “We also missed some opportunities to knock in some runs. We were a couple of plays here or there and a few breaks going our way from getting a victory. But that's how it goes sometimes, you need to get the breaks sometimes and things just didn't go our way.”
Mack led the Havre attack with another two-hit game, while the Bulldogs got two hits each from Alana Morris and Kelani Morris.
Despite squandering a chance to possibly sweep the two-game set, the Ponies' victory shows they've come a long way in a short while.
“It really helps the kids out, because now they know they are finished with the tough part of their schedule and we can compete with any of the teams left on our schedule,” Evans said. “We still have a chance to make it to state now that we got splits with both Columbia Falls and Whitefish.
“Polson and Libby are obviously the best teams and they will finish in the top spots,” he added. “But the third and fourth spots are still up for grabs, so, if we can keep playing well, going to state is possible.”
The Ponies will resume their schedule Saturday when they play host to the Browning Indians.
Whitefish 9, Havre 2
Whitefish 100 020 6 - 9 9 2
Havre 010 020 6 - 2 4 12
WP - Alana Morris. LP - Steph Stremcha.
Whitefish - Alana Morris 2, Kelani Morris 2.
Havre - Sam Mack 2.
Havre 10, Whitefish 2
Whitefish 000 00 - 0 1 2
Havre 112 42 - 10 10 4
WP - Kelsey Evans. LP - Alana Morris.
Havre - Evans 2, Stacey Sheppard 2, Laura Zentmire 2.