Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
The Havre High softball team knew this weekend was going to be a busy one, but with the addition of a couple of makeup games, the Blue Ponies coming weekend just got even busier. On Friday and Saturday, the Western A Ponies will be on the road for the Butte Central Invitational in Butte where they are scheduled to play five games. On Friday, the Ponies will face the conference rival Polson Pirates at 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in two makeup games. The Ponies will also face the Hardin Bulldogs at 6:15 p.m. on Friday night. Saturday has two more games in store for the Ponies. At 9 a.m., HHS will face the Miles City Cowgirls, and at 1:15 p.m. the Ponies will wrap up their weekend facing the Anaconda Copperheads. “Our Friday games will be our hardest I think.” Havre High head coach Bob Evans said. “That’s what’s most important, those two conference games. They are the ones that mean something.” The Ponies are sitting in good position at 7-2 overall and 5-2 in conference. But with only one conference game left to play after this weekend, another one or two conference wins would be huge, especially coming against the powerhouse Pirates. “We know Polson is always a good ball club," Evans said. “We have never beat Polson since we started our program, so our girls would be pretty well pumped and jacked up. If they can get a win against Polson they will know they can compete against anybody.” Continuing to play good defense will help the Ponies overcome the Pirates, but more than anything the Ponies need to play smarter at the plate. In their tough losses to Columbia Falls last weekend in Havre, the Ponies were impatient and swung at some pitches they knew they shouldn’t have. “If we’re going to play good teams, we have to know the strike zone better,” Evans said. “We are going to have to swing at more strikes and less balls. If we are going to compete and score runs we cant swing at bad pitches.” But good offense will also make the Ponies successful in the rest of their weekend matchups. The Bulldogs are an outstanding ball club coming out of the East, and they cant be overlooked. They will push the Ponies and will be another good test. “That’s a game I expect to win,” Evans said. “We have played them before, and if we play well I expect to beat them.” After being tested all day Friday, the Ponies turn around Saturday and face the Cowgirls and Copperheads, both teams the Ponies can and should defeat. The Cowgirls are relatively a new program, and the Ponies should hold an edge on them with both depth and experience. And though the Ponies haven’t seen the Copperheads in the past couple seasons, the Copperheads haven’t looked strong at all this season. They have struggled to score runs on offense, and have struggled to keep runs off the board on defense. With good weather and plenty of practice time, the Ponies have had adequate time to prepare for this weekend. Defense and pitching continue to be part of the Ponies strengths, and the defense has worked on everything down to ground balls, while Karly Evans, Tabitha Myers and Abi Ita have all gotten chances to throw. “I am hoping we can sustain what we have been doing with our pitching and our defense,” Evans said. “Defense has got to be our game.” And though Karly Evans is the frontrunner to pitch game one against Polson on Friday, nothing is set in stone. All three girls will get their opportunity on the mound this weekend and as always, the final decision on who will throw will come closer to game time. “It depends on if they are healthy and how they are feeling,” Evans said. “I have pretty good confidence in all three girls, it just depends on who’s feeling the best and who really wants to get after em' and throw.” In all but two games the Ponies have dominated the competition this season. And this weekend, the Ponies have the opportunity do the very same while adding four or five more wins to their record. “If I came back with four wins I would be exceptionally happy,” Evans said. “And if I end up with three I would be happy. Of course our goal is to win them all, but personally if we could win four out of five I would be tickled to death.” The Ponies get the weekend started with two conference games against Polson, first at 11:45 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. And the Ponies wrap up Friday when they face Hardin at 6:15 p.m. And on Saturday, the Ponies will face Miles City at 9 a.m. and Anaconda at 1:15 p.m. The HHS junior varsity team is also in action this weekend. Friday, the Ponies host Shelby in a doubleheader. Game times are at 4:15 and 6:15 p.m. On Saturday the Pony JV team will play in Lewistown.