By Kim Staudinger
After failing to get a clutch hit in a first-game defeat against the Great Falls Stallions, the Havre Comets came back in the second game to secure a 4-2 win and earn a split in an American Legion doubleheader at Legion Field last night.
The Stallions, paced by pitcher Randy Rust, earned a 3-0 shutout in the opener.
In the second game, Steve Heberly led the Comets from the mound and at the plate. He struck out five and gave up just three hits over five innings to pick up the win, and he also went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Daine Solomon was 1-for-3 with two RBI, and Garrett Drake added an RBI single for the Comets.
Ben Mader took over for Heberly in the sixth and pitched two hitless innings to pick up the save.
In the first game, Rust struck out one and walked three in his complete-game effort.
The Comets had their chances to win as they scattered seven hits and left six men on base, but couldn't put the hits together at the right time against Rust.
"It was the meat of the lineup that just didn't get it done tonight," Comets coach Bob Evans said. "We left runners on second and third twice and second once.
"Their pitcher wasn't overpowering, we just beat ourselves."
The Comets missed a big opportunity to score in the first inning after back-to-back singles by Mark Benjamin and Adam Jensen. Cory Junck followed with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, and Ian Spencer followed with a walk to load the bases.
But Solomon popped out to second for the second out of the inning, and Chris Chandler grounded out the end the threat.
The Comets tried to rally with two outs in the sixth when Spencer and Solomon both singled to center, but that rally was thwarted when Chandler grounded out to short.
"We started to swing at anything close to the plate," Evans said. "You can't win ballgames doing that. We need to learn how to compete in close games. But that will come with experience."
Junck pitched a strong game for the Comets allowing only one earned run in his seven innings of work. He surrendered seven hits, three walks and struck out three.
The Stallions touched up Junck for all three runs in the third on three hits, a walk, one wild pitch and a balk.