Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
The season opener has been much anticipated for the Havre High School softball team, and after finally getting the chance to take the field, the Blue Ponies came flying out of the gate. On Thursday the Class A Blue Ponies defeated the Browning Indians 14-2 in five innings, giving the Ponies a 1-0 start to their long-awaited season. “It was fun to finally get a chance to play,” Havre High head coach Bob Evans said. “The girls were ready to play, and I thought they played pretty well for their first time out. We made a couple mistakes, but basically we played a pretty good ball game.” Karly Evans earned the starting pitching spot for the Ponies, and she looked good from start to finish. Karly Evans faced 21 batters in five innings and forced six to ground out, eight to fly out and earned one strikeout. She also walked one, and allowed only two hits by the Indians. “She (Evans) threw pretty well today,” Coach Evans said. “She was around the strike zone and she moved her pitches around pretty good.” The defense was also solid in their first outing. There were some jitters, as the Ponies went on to record three errors, but other than that, the defense shut down the Indians' bats. In the top of the fourth inning, Paighton Gilman made her defensive presence felt. Ashlyn Fish crushed a line drive to right field for the Indians, but in a heads-up play Gilman charged the ball and was able to throw Fish out at first. “We made a couple of mistakes,” Coach Evans said. “But we made some good plays. We did a lot of good things today for our first time out.” The bats were also on fire for the Ponies and they jumped all over the pitching of the Indians' Alysa Hodson. It may have taken an inning to start warming up, but when they did, the outcome ended in a mercy rule victory for the Ponies. HHS first got on the board in the second inning. Natalie Kato reached base on a passed ball and Tabitha Myers reached base on a four-pitch walk. Then with two outs, Amanda Hanson earned two RBIs on a well-placed single. “It was hard for the girls their first time up,” Coach Evans said. “They weren’t very patient and they swung at some early pitches. We talked about it too, they have to go up there and take their time and look at a pitch or two before swinging.” And when the Ponies settled down, the runs really started stacking up. In the third inning the Ponies sent 12 hitters to the plate. And on six straight singles, they earned four quick runs. But they weren’t done yet. After two straight outs, the Ponies then tacked on four more runs on a double by Holly Cartwright, a double by Karly Evans and a single by Samantha Mack. Hodson drove in a run in the fourth, but after the Ponies third inning performance they were still in good position with a 10-1 lead. And after the Ponies tacked on four more runs in the fourth inning to go up 14-1, it was up to the defense to step up again in the fifth inning. But Karly Evans and the Ponies defense answered the call, and one run on a fielder’s choice would be all the Indians would get. Karly Evans also paced the Ponies at the dish going 3-for-4 with an RBI while Mack and Kato added two hits each and combined to drive in apir of runs. “They (Browning) aren’t a great team,” Coach Evans said. “But you still have to come out and get ready to play everybody.” The Ponies took full advantage of their season opener on Thursday and walked away with a big win. But today the Ponies host an even tougher Libby Loggers team in a double header. “It’s going to be a little different,” Coach Evans said. “We are going to see better pitching and a much better team.” HHS faces the Class A defending state champion Loggers tonight at 4:30 and again at 6.