It had been 22 days since the Havre North Stars American Legion baseball team had played in the friendly confines of Havre’s Legion Field.
But they made it look like they never left.
On Friday night in Havre, the North Stars swept a competitive Northern District doubleheader from the rival Tri-Count
y Cardinals, improving to a stellar 13-5 in league play in the process. The North Stars beat the Cardinals by a score of 11-6 in the first game, then took the nightcap 14-7.
The sweep was started by a powerful hitting and pitching display from veteran Gareth Bernard in game one.
Bernard held the Cardinals to just six hits and six runs in a complete-game win. And he delivered several big blows at the plate, helping his cause by going 4-for-4 and driving in three runs. Bernard was in complete control on the mound as he struck out seven Cardinals and got plenty of help from his defense. Havre didn’t commit a single error in the field, while the Cardinals had six miscues on the night.
The North Star hitters also helped Bernard out at the plate. With the game tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the fourth inning, the North Stars broke out. They tacked on three to go up 4-1, then added three more in the fifth and four runs in the sixth to break the game wide open.
Chris Vukasin did big damage at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, while David Denny delivered a 2-for-2 performance. Mark Vukasin and Tyrell Pierce also had extra base hits as the North Stars outhit the Cardinals 12-6.
And Havre didn’t take long to keep the hot bat going in game two.
The North Stars came out of the gates swinging, scoring nine runs in the first three innings. Brandon Smith, Mark Vukasin and Thurman Holdsclaw all delivered key hits as Havre built up a 9-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Mark Vukasin pitched a stellar first five innings for the North Stars on his way to a win. However, Tri-County didn’t go quietly into the night, as the Cardinals scored five runs in the sixth inning to make the score 9-7, and tighten the game.
However, Smith came on in relief, stopped the Cardinal rally in the sixth and shut them down in the top of the seventh to earn the save.
And Havre’s bats weren’t done yet either. After Tri-County cut the gap, Havre came right back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs to put the game away for good. In the inning, Denny and Chris Vukasin came up with big hits, while Bernard tripled in a pair of runs.
In the nightcap, the North Stars totaled eight hits, while Justin Jensen, Holdsclaw and Denny each drove in a run, and Smith, Chance Pitkanen and Bernard all drove in two each.
The North Stars have a busy week ahead as they host the Fort Macleod Royals in a district doubleheader tonight, then play a July 4 double dip at Medicine Hat. Tonight's doubleheader begins at 5 at Legion Field.
North Stars 11, Tri-County 6
Tri-County 000 120 3 – 6 6 6
Havre 100 334 x – 11 12 0
WP – Gareth Bernard, LP – R. Miller
– S. Bye 0-3, K. Schmidt 1-4, R. Miller 2-4, T. Walker 1-4, Z. Johanson
0-3, J. Ashworth 0-3, C. Hawke 0-1, T. Tharp 1-1, T. Padialla 1-1.
– Justin Jensen 0-4, Thurman Holsdclaw 0-3, Brandon Smith 1-3 (RBI),
Mark Vukasin 1-4 (RBI), Chris Vukasin 3-4 (3 RBI), Gareth Bernard 4-4 (3
RBI), David Denny 2-2 (2 RBI), Tyrell Pierce 1-2, Spencer Ross 0-2, Ned
2b – M. Vukasin
3b – Pierce
North Stars 14, Tri-County 7
Tri-County 010 015 0 – 7 8 4
Havre 261 005 x – 14 8 4
WP – Mark Vukasin, LP – R. Clark
Tri-County – S. Bye 1-5, K. Schmidt 2-5, R. Miller 1-3, Z. Johanson 0-2, J. Ashworth 1-4, C. Hawke 0-2, T. Tharp 1-3, R. Clark 2-4.
– J. Jensen 0-1 (1 RBI), Thurman Holdsclaw 1-4 (1 RBI), Brandon Smith
1-3 (2 RBI), Mark Vukasin 2-3, Chance Pitkanen 1-3 (2 RBI), Dane
Linquist 0-3, Jace Kato 0-3, Kody Hickman 0-2, Matt Hanley 0-2, Ned
Malone 0-2, David Denny 1-1 (1 RBI), Tyrell Pierce 0-1, Chris Vukasin
1-1, Gareth Bernard 1-1 (2 RBI).
3b – Bernard.