Havre Daily News sports editor
This past weekend was a chance for the Havre High softball team to take a break from their pursuit of a berth in the class A state softball tournament and compete against some very good nonconference competition in the Laverne Combo softball tournament in Butte.
The tournament was played out in a round robin format, with each team playing four games. The Ponies played two games on Friday and two games on Saturday, winning one and losing one each day.
“For the most part, I thought that we played pretty well,” Havre head coach Bob Evans said. “We got to play against some good Class A competition and we came out and played pretty well. We could have hit the ball better in a few spots, but overall I was pleased with the way that the girls played.”
After splitting their first two games in the tournament, the Blue Ponies faced off against Stevensville on Saturday morning. Steph Stremcha led the way for the Ponies by surrendering just one run off of three hits to earn the victory, which was her second of the year.
Offensively, the Ponies were able to take advantage of three critical Stevensville errors with some timely hitting from Kelsey Evans, who had two hits. Stremcha, Erika Briese and Jessica Obrecht all collected hits as well for Havre in the 10-1 drubbing.
“We were able to take advantage of some walks and errors that they made,” Evans said. “Steph pitched a real good game for us and we were able to get hits and knock in runs when we needed to.”
After the win against the Yellowjackets, the Ponies faced off against Corvallis, one of the top teams in all of Class A softball. The game quickly became a pitching dual between two of Montana's best pitchers Kasie Conder of Corvallis and Kelsey Evans of Havre.
Both pitchers had their stuff working early, but in the end Evans wore down and surrendered a couple of runs late in the game. The Ponies could never recover from falling behind as they fell 4-1. Conder got the win, while holding Havre to one off of four hits. Evans pitched well in defeat giving up 4 runs on just five hits.
“I thought we played well even in the games that we lost,” Bob Evans said. “We had our chances in both of those games, especially the game against Corvallis. It was tight throughout the ball game, but we just didn't get the big hits when we needed them the most.”
On Friday the Ponies opened the tournament up against Livingston. The Rangers scored five runs in the first inning to take a 5-0 lead. But the Ponies answered in the second inning when they scored four runs to cut the lead down to 5-4.
Unfortunately, pitcher Steph Stremcha surrendered four more runs in the third and two more in the fourth to extend the Rangers' lead to 11-4. The Ponies failed to get anything going offensively and the game was ended after five innings with Havre falling 11-4.
In the Ponies second game on Friday, Kelsey Evans took the mound for the Ponies and delivered a 7-5 victory. Evans struggled a little bit with her control and she was not as dominating as she has been in recent starts. But she pitched well enough for the Ponies to be victorious.
Havre jumped out to a 3-0 lead, then after Hardin notched two runs in the third Havre poured it on with four runs in the fourth, giving Evans all the run support she needed. Hardin added a pair of runs later in the game but it was not enough and Havre held on for a 7-5 win. Stacey Sheppard came up big with three RBIs on the day. Other good performances at the plate included Sam Mack with three hits, Evans with a run-scoring triple and Stremcha with a hit and an RBI.
“Kelsey was the more consistent of the two pitchers for us,” Evans said. “Kelsey threw a few more strikes and she was able not to walk as many batters and that is the reason she won. She didn't pitch outstanding, but she didn't need to either.”
The Ponies will resume their schedule next Friday night when they travel to conference rival Browning.
Livingston 11, Havre 4
Havre 040 00 - 4 3 4
Livingston 504 2x - 11 5 1
WP- Birky, LP- Stremcha
Leading Batters - Kelsey Evans, McKayla Patterson, Steph Stremcha
Havre 7, Hardin 5,
Havre 021 400 0 - 7 7 2
Hardin 000 203 0 - 5 9 2
Leading Hitters - Sam Mack 3, Kelsey Evans 1, Steph Stremcha 1, Stacey Sheppard 3 RBI.
Havre 10, Stevensville 1
Stevensville 001 0 - 1 3 3
Havre 111 7 - 10 5 2
Stevensville - Izzy Miller 1-1, Lindsey McGree 0-1, Kaitlin McCowen 0-1, Kristen McCowen 1-2, Brianna Beller 0-2, Jessica Howe 1-2, Samantha Lanour 0-0, Jessica Pepprock 0-1, Amanda McGee 0-2.
Havre - Jessica Obrecht 1-4, Sam Mack 0-2, Ericka Briese 1-3, Kelsey Evans 2-3, McKayla Patterson 0-3, Steph Stremcha 1-1, Stacey Sheppard 0-1, Tiffany Ranes 0-2, Tana Tchida 0-0.
Corvallis 4, Havre 1
Corvallis - 4 5 1
Havre - 1 4 0
No stats reported