George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
In baseball, winning on the road can be a tough proposition, especially for a young and inexperienced team. But this weekend at a tournament in Bozeman host by the Gallatin Valley Outlaws, the Havre North Stars American Legion baseball team found out something about themselves that when they play well, they can win on the road. In five games in Bozeman, the North Stars went 3-2 against quality competition. Havre started the tourney off with its second loss in as many weeks at the hands of the Lewistown Redbirds. Havre and Lewistown squared off on Friday afternoon with the Redbirds coming out on top 7-1. Havre starter Shane Kemmer pitched four scoreless innings, but couldn't hold the Redbirds down long enough, and Havre's offense couldn't get runners across the plate. Kemmer did have a solid outing at the dish in the loss, going 3-for-4, while Josh Haas went 2-for-3 and Nick Nault and Kyle Miller each went 1-for-3. But just as Havre has done so many times this season, the North Stars were able to recover, and they went on to win their next three games. The streak started with a dramatic 4-3 win over the Outlaws on Friday night. Ironically, the Outlaws were the team that Havre beat after it had lost to Lewistown last weekend in Havre. Miller was the winning pitcher for the North Stars, and he had a hit in the game as well. Joe Malisani also collected a hit and worked two innings of relief on the mound in the win. Justin Jensen and Haas also collected two hits each for the North Stars in the narrow victory. On Saturday, Havre continued its winning ways with a solid 7-2 win over the Gallatin Valley Posse, as well as a 4-3 extra-inning victory over the Butte Muckers. Against the Posse, Willie DeVries got the win and pitched five solid innings for the North Stars, while Haas came in and pitched well in relief and also went 2-for-3 at the plate. Paul Jensen also paced the North Stars with a solid 2-for-4 hitting performance. Later on Saturday, against Butte, the North Stars got an extra-inning, game-winning single by Malisani to keep the winning streak alive. Malisani went 2-for-4 on the day, including his game-winner. Josh Haas came on in relief of starter Justin Jensen to get the win against the Muckers, while offensively, Jensen and Kemmer each went 2-for-4 and Miller went 2-for-3. Finally, on Sunday, the North Stars' wining streak came to an end at the hands of the Glendive Blue Devils, 8-6. Paul Jensen went the distance for the North Stars and pitched well, but Havre's usually steady defense let Jensen down at times in the game. Haas paced the North Stars at the plate by going 2-for-3 while DeVries and Brandon Smith each had a double. "Overall, we had great pitching again this weekend, which kept us in the games," Havre head coach Steve Fanning said. "We need to stay focused mentally for all seven innings. Also I would like to start seeing more production throughout the entire line up, through executing bunts and having smart base running. We know what were capable of, we just need to find some consistency within all phases of the game." Havre (12-11) will be back on the road on Saturday for a conference doubleheader in Medicine Hat. The North Stars next home games will be on June 30 when they host Lethbridge.