Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After two cancellations already this season, the Havre High softball team has yet to play a game, but after this weekend the Blue Ponies will have five games behind them, and their season will be well on its way. In the Western A Ponies’ season opener, they will face conference rival, the Browning Indians at 2 p.m on Thursday. The game with Browning was to be played last Saturday, but a browning scheduling conflict forced the game to be moved to Thursday. And on Friday, the Ponies host a doubleheader when they face the defending state champion Libby Loggers at 4:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. And on Saturday, The Ponies finally hit the road when they travel to face another conference rival in the Whitefish Bulldogs at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. “We are still in the same place.” Havre High head coach Bob Evans said. “We haven’t had a chance to play a game yet so we are just kind of going in and seeing what happens and how our players step up. Until the kids get a chance to play against a team rather than in practice you don’t know how they are going to react.” With having two jamborees canceled on the Ponies, a number of nonconference games were missed. Now the Ponies are being thrown right into five conference games, still without a definite starting nine. “If you don’t get any non-conference games played it’s a disadvantage.” Evans said. “And unfortunately that has happened for us. I am not making any excuses, but we have some catching up to do. Hopefully when the weekend is over we have nine players to fill the nine starting positions.” Facing the Indians as a season opener will be good for the Ponies. Conference wins are never a given, but the Indians have already played four games and are still winless. They have struggled in the past, and as of now they look to be in the same rut. The Indians have lost in five innings to both Polson and Cut Bank this season. “I know they (Indians) have games under their belt already.” Evans said. “But if we play like we are capable of playing we should get a win.” The Loggers are the defending state champions, and facing their program is never easy. And on top of that, this year’s team is somewhat of a mystery to Evans and the Ponies. Pitcher, Brooke Hagness won the championship for the Loggers a year ago, but even after losing her to graduation, they will be tough to get by. “I do know they have a very solid program.” Evans said. “That will be quite a challenge for us.” Also going against the Ponies will be the fact that some players have conflicting school events. Due to a music competition, Holly Cartwright and Cortney Bricker will miss game one of the double header on Friday. “That won’t help us any.” Evans said. “But we will overcome.” HHS is in a similar situation when it comes to the Bulldogs. The Ponies don’t know much about them, just that they have been extremely tough in the past, and will most likely be extremely tough this year. “I know they have played, but I haven’t seen any scores from them.” Evans said. “I don’t have any idea where they are at.” If the Ponies are going to pick up some much needed conference wins this weekend, they are going to have to get good production from their pitching staff and their defense. The pitching can’t afford to give up a lot of runs, and the defense has to step up and help keep the competition at bay. “Girls fastpitch is all about pitching.” Evans said. “If you’ve got good pitching you will win some games, and if your pitchers don’t step up it’s going to be trouble.” As of now, Karly Evans is scheduled to take the mound for the Ponies in their season opener against the Indians. But coach Evans is looking to get all of his pitchers playing time by the end of the weekend. The start of the Ponies season has been prolonged after two tough cancellations, but the players and coaches are more than ready to get their season underway. And without having any games prior to entering conference play, the Ponies aren’t quite where they would like to be. But with solid returning players and up and coming girls showing good promise, the Ponies are still looking to go out and capture some wins. “We have to be pretty confident.” Evans said. “We just have to step it up and play the way we are capable of playing. The Ponies face the Indians at 2 p. m. on Thursday. And on Friday, the Ponies host a double header against the defending state champion Loggers at 4:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. All three of those games will take place at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field in Havre. And on Saturday, The Ponies finally hit the road when they travel to take on the Bulldogs at 11 a. m. and 3 p.m in Whitefish.