By Jason Shoot
Playing against Great Falls in frigid and miserable weather conditions at Legion Field, the Havre Comets were unable to get their bats warmed up in their season opener Sunday.
Great Falls pitchers Mike Miller and Nick Gilcrest stifled Havre's offense, holding the Comets to just three hits in a 6-0 victory in an American Legion baseball game.
That's not to say Havre did not have chances to push some runs across the plate, however.
On three occasions the Comets had runners at second and third and less than two outs and failed to get the clutch hit to bring those runners home.
Steve Heberly and Garrett Drake had back-to-back singles in the bottom of the first, and both players moved up a base on Daine Solomon's perfectly-placed sacrifice bunt.
But Tyler Thompson and Lance Sapp each hit consecutive ground outs to end the scoring threat.
Havre had Heberly on third and Solomon on first with one out in the third, but Miller wiggled his way out of the jam with consecutive strikeouts and kept the Comets at bay.
Those missed scoring chances came back to haunt Havre in the fourth inning when Great Falls scored five runs on four hits, a walk and an error. Erik Haugan had the big hit in the inning for the Stallions with a two-run double.
Great Falls added its final run in the fifth when Chad Nixon scored on an error.
Gilcrest put the Stallions in a tough situation when he issued four walks in the bottom of the fifth, but his defense turned a double play in between the two walks and he added a strikeout to end the inning and essentially end the Comets' hopes of rallying.
"We just needed a base hit," Havre coach Bob Evans Sr. said. "But it was our first game. Otherwise, I'm pleased."
Thompson started the game on the mound for the Comets, and he was simply fantastic.
Thompson pitched three no-hit innings, including a stretch of striking out four Stallion batters in a row between the first and second innings. Thompson finished with five strikeouts and faced the minimum nine batters in his three innings of work.
"He threw good," Evans said of Thompson. "He kept the ball down and kept the ball moving in and out."
The scheduled game between the Stallions and Havre Northstars was rained out
Miller, Gilcrest (5) and Thayres; Thompson, Mader (4), Junck (6) and Drake, Jensen (5).