The Havre High softball team almost made it out of a Montana spring unscathed, but after a consistent downpour from mid-week last week, through the weekend, the Blue Ponies had three games cancelled.
The Central A Ponies were supposed to play a handful of conference games over the weekend. On Friday, the Ponies were to host the Browning Indians, while on Saturday the Ponies were scheduled to face the Lewistown Golden Eagles in Lewistown, a matchup that was been panning out to be extremely important for the state hungry Ponies.
So far, the game with Browning has yet to be rescheduled, while the Ponies are already preparing to make the trip to Lewistown on Thursday.
But with soggy conditions in Havre, and an even worse storm in Lewistown, the Blue Ponies (2-6, 2-3) spent the weekend practicing in the gym, rather than attempting to punch their ticket to the state tournament.
Havre High spent Saturday afternoon in the Havre High gymnasium, utilizing two hours of practice time to keep improving. The Ponies have been consistently getting better as the year marches on, and head coach Mike Thill said the indoor practice, and the closer setting gave the coaching staff a little more detailed look at what needs refined and tweaked at this point in time.
“We lost four or five games last year when the Laurel tournament was canceled,” Thill said. “So we don’t want to lose any this season if we can help it. It is hard to sit these games (after cancelations), but it also gave us an opportunity to get a few more days of practice in and work on a few more things. We didn’t lose a day, and still got a day of practice in.”
With the Lewistown matchup already rescheduled, and the game against Browning still to be rescheduled, the Ponies remain in the state hunt.
Right now Belgrade holds the No. 1 seed and the Eagles hold the No. 2 seed. The Ponies and Rangers are currently tied for third, and if the season ended today, the No. 3 spot would come down to a coin flip. Both the Ponies and Rangers share the same conference record at 2-3 (both teams are 1-1 against each other). Both teams are also tied when it comes down to the runs given up/runs scored tiebreaker, leaving a coin flip to decide.
But with a handful of conference games still to be played, the Ponies are still in control of their own fate. Last week the Rangers lost a game to Lewistown, so if the Ponies can grab a win on Thursday, that would give the Ponies an advantage.
“We are still in a tiebreaker for a birth to state,” Thill said. “And we are well aware of that. If we can just keep pushing forward and get a win over Lewistown, that would put us a leg up on Livingston. You would think it would come down to a one game playoff, but that’s not how it is. And this is why it would be so important to have a divisional tournament. As teams start the year and have injuries, or like us, have four freshman starting, by the time the divisional tournament came around we would have a much better opportunity.”
The Ponies will also be at home for the Havre Invitational on Saturday.