George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
The season is winding down for the Havre High softball team, but things aren’t getting an easier for the Blue Ponies as the calendar turns to May. Today and Saturday, the Blue Ponies (6-8) are in Butte for the Laverne Combo Softball Invitational hosted by the Butte Central Maroons, and the Ponies will play four good Class A opponents over the next two days. Today’s schedule includes a game at 3:15 p.m. against Eastern A stalwart Glendive and HHS will end the day against Southwest A opponent Anaconda. Both teams should give Havre a stern test today, but both are winnable games as neither team are likely headed to the Class A state tournament in two weeks. HHS also comes into the weekend playing much more consistent softball. After an eight-game losing streak, the Ponies have righted the ship somewhat, winning two out of the three games they played at the Havre Invitational last weekend. Havre has been much more consistent on defense, and the Ponies’ top two pitchers, senior Steph Stremcha and junior Karly Evans have both thrown the ball well recently. Both pitcher’s earned run averages have come down as of late, and they are getting good defense behind them. Havre’s bats also came alive last weekend in wins over Cut Bank and Conrad. The Ponies have been getting good hitting all year from the likes of Karly Evans, Stremcha, Sam Mack and others, and sophomore Kelli Kelsey had a big weekend at the plate, giving the middle of HHS’s lineup a big boost. After missing last week, sophomore Holly Cartwright also returns to the HHS linueup to add even more power today. And the Ponies will need it because on Saturday they square off against two of Class A’s best in Laurel and Corvallis. The Locomotives beat HHS at the state tournament a year ago, and although graduation hit them hard, they are one of the teams to beat in the Eastern A. Meanwhile, Corvallis has one of the best pitching staffs in all of Class A and they also beat the Ponies a year ago, and many consider the Blue Devils to be a favorite to win the Class A title this season. Saturday’s games will be at 10:45 a.m. against Laurel and 4 p.m. against Corvallis. The tournament in Butte features 22 total teams from Class A and Class B-C and will be played on five fields in the Mining City. All of Havre’s games at are at Copper Mountain starting with its game against Glendive today at 3:15.