As the Havre High softball team draws closer and closer to the middle of its season, the games grow more and more important. This weekend, the Central A Blue Ponies (5-3, 2-0) have four crucial games against two conference opponents. Today the Ponies will host a doubleheader with the Livingston Rangers at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday the Ponies will host a doubleheader with the Belgrade Panthers at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. All of the games will be played at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Softball Field. “We’re ready to play,” Havre High head coach Bob Evans said. “We are always ready to play.” HHS may be ready to play, but the Ponies know they aren’t walking into a pair of easy matchups. They know very little about the Panthers and Rangers. But what is known is that both teams are very good this year, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the conference, according to Evans. The Panthers have come out hot to start the season. They are 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference, coming off of a 5-2 win over Butte Central. And the Rangers are coming off of a two-game sweep of Browning, outscoring the Indians 36-1 including a shutout in game two. The Ponies can expect to face two very good teams this weekend. They don’t have a shining strength, but both teams just play solid softball all the way around. They can hit, play defense and have solid pitching. Preparation for the Ponies has been basic. They have worked on all areas of play including defense and live batting, but have struggled to have a solid week of practice due to players getting sick. For HHS to be successful this weekend it’s going to take very strong outings by both Abigail Ita and Tabitha Myers on the mound. Both Myers and Ita are scheduled to pitch two games this weekend, and a lot of the team’s success lies on their performances. “They are going to have to throw strikes,” Evans said. “If they don’t throw strikes we are going to be in trouble. If they can throw strikes and make them hit it into the infield I think we have a pretty good chance of winning some ballgames. You can’t expect to walk six or seven batters and expect to win.” The bats also have to get it done for Havre to come away with some conference victories. The season is still young, but the Ponies' offense has been streaky. While up to bat they have to show more patience. They have done well to get ahead in the count, but in a lot of cases struck out instead of earning a hit or walk. At-bats have to be more consistent, especially coming from some of the younger girls at the bottom of the lineup. Holly Cartwright, Kelli Kelsey, Myers and Chelsea Nottingham have done well leading off the lineup, but they need some help. “We’re getting to the middle of our season,” Evans said, “and they are going to have to start hitting better than they have been the last couple times out. We have to be more selective and understand the strike zone a little better.” Today, the Ponies will host a doubleheader with the Rangers at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. And on Saturday the Ponies will host a doubleheader with the Panthers at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Blue Ponies host Central A rivals
Published: Friday, April 23rd, 2010
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