George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
And just like that, it was over. That's how the season ended for the Havre North Stars American Legion baseball club at the Northern A District Tournament this weekend. After winning their opening round game on Thursday in Conrad, the fifth-seeded North Stars lost two straight games in disappointing fashion to be eliminated from state tournament contention. After suffering a 17-5 loss to the top-seeded Vauxhall Spurs on Friday night, the North Stars were staring at elimination as they took on the third-seeded Lethbridge Miners on Saturday morning. And things went terribly wrong right away for Havre as the Miners knocked around starter Kyle Miller for eight runs in the first two innings en route to a 16-6 win, ending Havre's hopes of reaching the Class A state tournament later this week in Vauxhall. "Not the way we wanted to go out at all," Havre head coach Steve Fanning said. "Making it to Saturday was definitely a goal, but I wish we could have shown more than we did." Havre tried to rally offensively, but the Miners' proved to be too much at the plate. Miller didn't make it out of the second inning, and Roman Surber and Shame Kemmer both pitched in relief. Third baseman Paul Jensen was one of the few bright spots for Havre at the plate against the Miners. Jensen hit a solo home run in the loss. Miller and Surber were also on at the dish, each collecting two hits in Havre's final game of the season. The lop-sided loss to Lethbridge came on the heels of a dif- ficult loss to Vauxhall in the winner's bracket on Friday evening. Like in other games against the North Stars this season, Vauxhall just had too many bats, and it showed, even as young Havre starter Justin Jensen pitched well in the 17-5 loss. "I thought Justin had the most success against them in earlier conference games so that is why we decided to give him the nod," Fanning said. "He's young and hopefully he'll learn from the experience and use it as motivation to get them back over the next few seasons." Once again, the North Stars didn't do enough at the plate either to stay with the high-powered Spurs. Havre managed just four hits in Friday's game, with Miller, Paul Jensen, Josh Haas and Nick Nault each collecting one hit. "Vauxhall should be the state champion this year," Fanning said. "They seemed to really turn on the offense against us, and we really seemed to just sit back in awe when we would play them. They can just flat hit the ball." Aside from the way Havre was eliminated from the postseason, Fanning isn't calling the summer a disappointment. The North Stars were a 20-win team with one of the youngest rosters in Class A baseball. They also proved to be savvy at times for such an inexperienced group, with countless late-inning rallies and come-from-behind victories throughout the season. "Like I told the kids, we started the season with five kids at a players meeting. We ended up winning 20 games. From going to a season in question to winning 20 games, that's a positive in my book. This team battled adversity all year long with playing with only a limited roster with no returning Northstars from last year," Fanning said. "We only lose two guys off this team, so we have quite a nucleus coming back, that always is exciting as a coach. But I would like to thank my two seniors, Josh and Nick are two great team players and leaders, they will be missed, but I know there are some guys ready to jump in and challenge for their vacant spots. We defi- nitely need to set our goals higher for next year. We need to get Havre back on the map as far as legion baseball goes. I think we will have the team to do that."