Even at home, it is tough to grab consecutive wins without a high level of consistency.
The Havre North Stars American Legion baseball team saw that firsthand on Monday night.
Hosting the Lethbridge Spitz Miners at Legion Field in Havre, the North Stars earned a league split. In the first game, the North Stars were victorious 9-6. But in the nightcap, the Miners turned the tables on Havre, handing the North Stars an 11-5 loss.
Havre totaled just five hits in the first game, but took full advantage to score nine runs. Havre also took advantage of four Miners’ errors, as the North Stars were able to get on the board early and often.
The North Stars scored three runs in the first inning to go up 3-0 early. Gareth Bernard drove in two RBIs with a double, and Chris Vukasin scored on a wild pitch. The early production propelled the North Stars to win, as the offense was able to come up with six more runs spread across three more innings.
The North Stars added two runs in the second inning, three in the fourth and one in the fifth. And while the Miners were able to come up with 13 hits, they scored just one run in the second, two in the third, two in the sixth and one in the seventh, as they played from behind all game long.
Justin Jensen put together a nice game, going 2-for-2, while Brandon Smith also had two hits, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Smith hit a two RBI triple in the fourth inning. Bernard’s first inning hit was the only other hit for the North Stars, while Bernard also finished with two RBIs and David Denny finished with one RBI.
Jensen also earned the complete-game victory, throwing 112 pitches in seven innings, and facing 34 total batters.
Game two didn’t go over as well for the North Stars, suffering the loss in the nightcap.
Havre jumped out to a 3-0 lead again, but couldn’t keep the Miner offense at bay. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the North Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third. But the Miners were able to grab three runs of their own to tie the ballgame at 3-3 in the fourth. From there, the North Stars offense couldn’t keep pace with the Miners’, as they were outscored 8-2 in the final three innings.
The North Stars attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning, but their two runs left them short. Smith earned a walk, but was later picked off at second on a steal attempt. Mark Vukasin and Chris Vukasin were able to get on base and Denny drove them home with a standup double. But the rally ended their as the Miners’ defense grabbed the final out on a North Star strikeout.
Smith pitched six innings and gave up 10 hits while also being charged with seven runs. Chris Vukasin also had a short stay on the mound, while Denny pitched the final inning. Denny gave up one hit and one run. But the pitching staff didn’t get the support they needed, as the North Stars defense committed four costly errors in the ballgame.
Bernard went 2-for-4 at the plate and had two RBIs for Havre. Jensen, Smith, Jace Kato, Ned Malone, Chris Vukasin and Denny also had one hit each, while Smith had one RBI and Denny had two.
The North Stars (15-9) have a couple of days to rebound, and will get that chance at home. Havre will host Vauxhall in a doubleheader on Thursday with the first game starting at 1 p.m. and the second to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
WP – Justin Jensen; LP – K Hurt
Lethbridge 012 002 1 – 6 13 4
Havre 320 310 x – 9 5 3
Lethbridge - Dayton Johnson 2-4 2RBI, Eric Davies 1-4, Landon Boulassa 2-3, Nick Tetzlaff 0-4, Derek Strate 1-3, Dustin Houghton 3-4 RBI, Dustin Yanke 3-4 2RBI, Logan Bell 0-3 RBI, Garet Burton 1-3.
Havre – Justin Jensen 2-2, Thurman Holdsclaw 0-4, Brandon Smith 2-4 3RBI, Mark Vukasin 0-4, Chris Vukasin 0-3, Gareth Bernard 1-3 2RBI, David Denny 0-3 RBI, Tyrell Pierce 0-3, Spencer Ross 0-1.
Lethbridge 11, North Stars 5
WP – D Strate; LP – Brandon Smith
Lethbridge 000 303 5 – 11 11 2
Havre 102 000 2 – 5 8 4
Lethbridge – Garet Burton 1-5, Tanner Shirakawa 2-4 RBI, Landon Boulassa 1-3 RBI, Dustin Houghton 1-3, Kade Hurt 1-3 2RBI, Dawson Strate 2-4 3RBI, Marcus Pearce 2-4 2RBI, Tristan Thiessen 1-4 RBI, Taylor Luchanski 0-3.
Havre - Justin Jensen 1-1, Thurman Holdsclaw 0-2, Brandon Smith 1-2 (RBI), Mark Vukasin 0-2, Gareth Bernard 2-4 (2 RBI), Dane Linquist 0-2, Jace Kato 1-2, Kody Hickman 0-1, Ned Malone 1-3, Tyrell Pierce 0-2, Chris Vukasin 1-2, David Denny 1-2 (2 RBI).