Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The first day of the American Legion Havre North Stars Memorial Tournament was a rough one for the Havre baseball club. But with three games left this weekend, the North Stars still have plenty of time to turn things around. On Thursday, the North Stars opened the tournament with two tough opponents. First the Lewistown Redbirds defeated the North Stars 8-0, and then the Wolf Point Yellow Jackets defeated the North Stars 10-0 in six innings of play. “We just looked intimidated out there.” Havre head coach Steve Fanning said. “We just look like we are not loose. That was not the way we wanted to start our tournament.” In game one Thursday afternoon at Legion Field, the Redbirds jumped out to an early 1-0 first inning lead and never looked back. The Redbirds tacked on three more in the second, one in the third, one in the fifth and two in the sixth. “They (Lewistown) are not a bad team.” Fanning said. “They are going to put together some singles and run the bases. We just need to do a better job of holding base runners on.” And all of the Redbird runs came from nine hits, while the North Stars only had three hits on the game thanks to Lewistown pitcher Orrin Pyrah. Kyle Miller went 2-for-3 and Paul Jensen went 1-for-3 for the North Stars. On the mound, Jensen took the loss for Havre. “We just can’t hit the ball right now,” Fanning said. “I don’t know why. We just aren’t swinging the bats well. We are going up there and swinging at bad pitches without having a plan.” And the struggling bats continued for the North Stars as they went on to face the Yellow Jackets in game two of the afternoon. Yellow Jackets pitcher Chris Kurokawa was the story in the nightcap as he no-hit the North Stars in a 10-0 shutout. Kurokawa struck out five North Stars on his way to the rare no-hitter. “He (Kurokawa) is a legit pitcher.” Fanning said. “But we are going to see kids like that and we have to learn how to compete. (Wolf Point) is a good team and they have some good athletes. Brandon (Smith) threw well and we should have helped him out a lot more.” Havre pitcher Brandon Smith kept the Yellow Jackets at bay for the first four innings. Though he threw five and a third innings total, he held them to only one run on three hits through four. But in the fifth and sixth innings, the Yellow Jackets really came alive. They added nine more runs off of seven hits and three Havre errors to capture the win. With the two losses Thursday, the North Stars dropped to 3-7 overall, but have three more games to turn their weekend around. They will face the Glendive Blue Devils at 9 p.m. tonight, the Gallatin Valley Outlaws at 9 p.m. Saturday and finally the Glasgow Reds at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. “We need to get some games under our belts,” Fanning said. “And hopefully we can turn some things around and end our tournament better than we started.” The Memorial Tournament really gets going now with six games on tap today and six more on Saturday. The action concludes on Sunday with four outings.