At the beginning of the week, it looked like there was no chance the Havre North Stars American Legion baseball team would be playing at home this weekend. But the weather broke just long enough for the North Stars to put on a pitching display in a sweep of the Lewistown Redbirds Sunday afternoon at Legion Field. The North Stars allowed just five combined hits and one run in a twin bill against the Redbirds, winning by scores of 7-1 and 10-0. “This is what happens when you pitch well, play good defense and make smart decisions running the bases,” Havre head coach Steve Fanning said. “We didn’t hit the ball as well as we would have liked but we did the things we want to be good at the season. We got great pitching, all of the guys who pitched today pitched great. And we played pretty good defense.” The North Stars were well on their way to a sweep thanks to a strong outing from Roman Surber in game one. Surber went five innings, allowing just one run on three hits and five strikeouts, and his defense backed him up well in the game-one win. At the plate, the North Stars struggled at times, mainly because of little to no batting practice this week due to bad practice weather. But still, they did enough to easily outdistance the Redbirds. In the middle innings, Havre did the most damage. The North Stars collected just eight hits in the game, but they scored seven runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Back-to-back singles by Kyle Miller and Justin Jensen got things started for the North Stars. Then, Havre batted around in the bottom of the fourth. Surber, Brayden Grimson, Brandon Smith and Mark Vukasin all had hits in the inning as Havre pulled away. For the game, the North Stars took advantage of eight Lewistown walks, and they were smart on the base paths, stealing bags and scoring off passed balls. Miller went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Surber complimented his pitching performance with two hits and two RBIs. Grimson, Jensen and Spencer Morkrid also drove in runs for the North Stars. In the second game, pitching was once again key. Vukasin and Smith combined on a to two-hit shutout of the Redbirds, while Havre’s bats exploded late in the 10-0, six-inning game. Havre collected just four hits in the game, but Lewistown pitchers combined for eight walks and eight wild pitches in the contest. “It was tough to hit today because we just hadn’t taken many swings this week,” Fanning said. “And with them (Redbirds) rotating pitchers every two innings, we really couldn’t figure out things at the plate going through the lineup. And we didn’t see a lot of good pitches, there were a lot of balls being thrown, so we probably weren’t as patient up there as we needed to be. But that will come with more games. I was still pleased with how we ran the bases and were able to put some runs on the board, especially in the second game.” The North Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in game two behind a single by Gareth Bernard and a run-scoring shot from Smith. Then, with Havre leading 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, things really unraveled for the Redbirds. Two errors, two walks and a wild pitch allowed Bernard, Miller, Grimson and Smith to cross the plate in the fifth, giving Havre a commanding 7-0 lead. Then, in their half of the sixth, the North Stars finished the game with runs from Bernard, Miller and Jensen. Jensen scored on a game-ending single by Smith. Smith went 2-for-4 in game two with a run batted in, while Justin Denny came up with a two-RBI hit. Bernard also drove in a run, as did Miller who also had a pair of steals. C.J. Evans also stole two bases in the shutout. On the mound, Havre got four strong innings from Vukasin, while Smith came on in relief to strike out five and preserve the shutout. “I was really pleased. Again, the pitching and defense was really good for us today,” Fanning said. “And this was important for us to get these two games in because now we don’t play for two weeks, so we needed the competition. So overall, I’m pretty happy with what we accomplished today.” The North Stars are now 3-1 in four non-league games against Lewistown on the young season. Overall, Havre improved to 3-3 on the season. Next up for the North Stars is a trip to Great Falls to take on the Class AA Chargers on May 16.
Sweep: North Stars cut down Redbirds
Published: Monday, May 3rd, 2010
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