George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
If it wasn’t for one inning in which the Havre Comets bats came alive, the Havre Northstars would have played nearly flawless baseball. But one inning aside, Northstars head coach Steve Fanning couldn’t have been more pleased with his team’s 12-6 Northern District victory over the Havre Comets on Wednesday night at Legion Field in Havre. “Our hitting really showed up today,” Fanning said. “And except for the one bad inning, I was really happy with how we played the whole game. Both pitching and hitting, we played very well today.” The nine-inning game started innocently enough, with the Northstars taking an early 1-0 lead. But in the middle three innings, the Northstars got to Comets starting pitcher Paul Jensen by scoring six runs in a game in which they would go on to pile up an astounding 18 hits. The Northstars got things started in the top of the third inning when Andrew Lindquist tripled to score Austin Small. Sean Peterson followed suit with a runscoring single and Scott vigliotti also singled in a run to make the score 4-0 Northstars. The Northstars tacked on another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a commanding 7-0 lead and they appeared to turn the game into a laugher. But Scott Ladenburg came on in releif of Northstars starter Tony Wirtzberger in the bottom of the fifth, and the Comets proceeded to score six straight runs to claw back into the game. The comeback started when Beau Briese singled to score Josh Haas, and later when Shane Kemmer drove in Gavin Swietnicki, Then, Kyle Miller ripped a two-run single that was compounded by a Northstars throwing error that eventually plated Kemmer. Jensen followed that up with a single of his own which scored Miller to make the score 7-6 before Ladenburg was finally able to get out of the inning. “That was a bad inning for us,” Fanning said. “We had some fielding miscues that hurt us, and they hit the ball hard too.” But as quickly as the Comets looked like they might make a game of it, the Northstars took control again when Ryan Callahan singled to score Small in the sixth to put the Northstars ahead 8- 6. From there, the Northstars scored four more runs and Ladenburg, Jeremiah Moog and Seth Jensen combined to hold the Comets scoreless the rest of the way. Seth Jensen weathered the Comets’ final threat when he was brought in with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, and he promptly struck out Adam Briese to end the threat. “I thought we got really good pitching tonight and of course, everybody stepped up and hit the ball really well,” Fanning said. “This was a good game for us. It’s one we can build on as we start to play more games now. I’m just really pleased with how we played.” Of the Northstars 18 hits, Bryan Heath had the biggest night, going 4-for-6 with an RBI. John Christian, Peterson, Wirtzberger, Moog and Callahan all collected two hits each, and seven different Northstars drove in runs. The Comets belted 10 hits of their own, and they got two hits apiece from Kemmer and Paul Jensen. But the Comets also made seven errors in the field, which didn’t help their pitchers against the Northstars’ big bats. And depsite all of the fireworks in the middle innings, the starters were the pitchers of record. Wirtzberger recorded his first win of the season for the Northstars, while Paul Jensen was charged with the loss for the Comets. Now, both teams will hit the road this weekend. The Northstars will play in Great Falls on Saturday and Sunday, and the Comets will be in Lewistown on Sunday.