Mid-April may be a bit early for district play, but the Havre North Stars American Legion baseball club appeared ready Sunday afternoon.
On a warm and sunny day in Great Falls, the North Stars opened Northern District play with a pair of convincing wins over the Great Falls Stallions. Havre opened the doubleheader with a 10-3 victory in game one, then smashed the Stallions 19-8 in the nightcap.
Brandon Smith earned a complete-game victory on the mound for the North Stars by pitching all seven innings, allowing Great Falls just three hits. After giving up three runs in the first three innings, Smith held the Stallions scoreless the rest of the way.
Smith was also big at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a double. Gareth Bernard also drove in three runs on one hit, while Chris Vukasin, Mark Vukasin and Justin Jensen each had two hits. Jensen also scored three runs.
The North Star bats remained as hot as the 80-degree temperatures in the second game. Havre put up 10 runs in the first three innings and never looked back on its way to a five-inning win.
Smith again went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs and another double. Jensen also went 3-for-3 with a triple and three runs scored. Chris Vukasin, Ned Malone and Jase Kato each had two hits as well.
On the hill, Jensen pitched well and picked up the short-game win for the North Stars, while Spencer Morkrid came on to get the save.
The North Stars improved to 2-1 on the season with Sunday’s sweep in Great Falls. They will be back on the road this Sunday for a doubleheader at the Lewistown Redbirds.
North Stars 10, GF Stallions 3
Havre 321 201 1 -- 10 14 3
Great Falls 201 000 0 -- 3 3 8
Brandon Smith and Gareth Bernard. Drew Brennan, Mark Judice (4), Jake Lowry (7) and Joe Maney. WP—Smith. LP—Brennan.
Havre – Jensen 2-4, C. Vukasin 2-4, Bernard 1-5, Smith 3-3 (2 RBI), M. Vukasin 2-4, Holdsclaw 1-4, Denny 1-3, Morkrid 1-4, Lindquist 1-3.
Great Falls – Judice 1-3 (RBI), Lowry 0-1, Logan 0-1, Maney 0-3, Wanner 1-2 (RBI), Brown 0-1, Reiman 0-1, Farren 0-3, Potoczny 0-3, Conway 0-3, Stuff 1-3.
North Star 19, GF Stallions 8
Havre 352 63 -- 19 12 1
Great Falls 202 31 -- 8 9 5
Justin Jensen and Gareth Bern ard. Zach Conway, Jake Lowry (2), Ryan Stuff (3), Devin Brown (4), Dallas Ferrin (4) and Joe Maney. WP—Jensen. LP— Conway .
Havre – Jensen 3-3, C. Vukasin 2-2, Matt Hankey 0-1, Bernard 1-3, B. Smith 2-3, M. Vukasin 0-4, Holdsclaw 0-2, Morkrid 0-1, Kato 2-4, Malone 2-3, Hickman 0-2, Pierce 0-3.
Great Falls – Judice 0-2, P. Brennan 0-1, Logan 1-3, Maney 4-4 (3 RBI), Brown 2-3, Stuff 2-3, Reiman 0-2, Powell 0-1, D. Brennan 0-3, Cuchine 0-2, Ferrin 0-3.
2B—Smith, Maney 2