Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a wild and crazy day of baseball when the Havre Comets and Medicine Hat Knights renewed their rivalry in a critical Northern District American Legion doubleheader. And the first game of the doubleheader Saturday at Legion Field in Havre saw the Comets hold off a furious ninthinning rally to hang on for an amazing 17-15 victory over Medicine Hat. The Knights took control of the game early by building a 6-1 lead. However, the Comets offense, which has been quiet of late, exploded for nine runs to grab a 10-6 advantage in the top of the third inning. The inning started off with three consecutive singles by Josh Haas, Kyle Miller and Shane Kemmer. Dylan Patterson then delivered a big blow, clearing the bases with a triple and scoring on a throwing error to make the score 6-5. In all, The Comets added four runs on five hits to take a four-run lead. The onslaught continued in the bottom of the fourth inning with eight runs on six hits, pushing the lead Havre to 17-10. “Our offense finally showed what we could do in those two innings,” Comets head coach Dan Wirtzberger said. “If we could keep hitting the ball like we did during that stretch, I think we could win a lot of games.” The game seemed all but over after starting pitcher Paul Jensen retired the first two batters in the top of the seventh inning. But after consecutive singles by Connor Bradshaw and Joel Lutz, Jensen issued three straight walks, bringing across two runs, trimming the Havre lead to 17-12. Miller then came in to close out the Knights, but was initially unable to stop the bleeding as Greg Adam belted a tworun single and another run came across on an error, before Derek Friezen struck out to end the game. “I was really happy with both of my pitchers,” Wirtzberger said. “I thought Paul pitched pretty well in the first game and Kyle did a great job of coming in and closing out the game.” Jensen walked away with the win for the Comets, while Miller was credited with the save. Lutz was hit with the loss for the Knights. Havre sent Miller to the mound for game two with an eye on the sweep, but the Havre offense was no match for Knight’s pitcher Jesse Bradshaw. Bradshaw dominated the Havre lineup from start to finish, allowing just one run on three hits to spearhead a 6-1 Medicine Hat victory, and an important split in league play. Bradshaw notched eight strikeouts and walked just two batters on his way to the complete-game victory. The Knights jumped ahead early thanks in large part to a series of Havre errors, including three in the first inning alone that led two a pair of runs. Miller helped his own cause in the bottom of the first after reaching on a base hit then stealing second and later scoring on a passed ball to pull the Comets within one run at 2-1. Unfortunately, the Knights were able to take advantage of two more Comets errors in the top of the second inning when Adams belted a two-run single. The Knights tacked on two more runs before the inning was over to take a 6-1 lead, giving Bradshaw more than enough run support. Miller was stuck with the loss for Havre after allowing just five hits and striking out four in a solid outing. Jensen led the Havre offense in the doubleheader going a combined 5-for-8 at the plate. Miller was also stellar at the plate with four hits and five runs scored in the two games. “It was good to get the one win, but it would have been a lot better to get both of them,” Wirtzberger said. “Now we don’t control our own destiny. They have the tiebreaker over us now and we are going to need some help from them down the road if we want to get to state.” The Comets will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Great Falls for a doubleheader against the Great Falls Stallions.