Havre pitcher hurls two-hitter in first game of doubleheader
By Kim Staudinger
Pitcher Doug Ireland was on fire as the Northstars rolled to a sweep of two conference games versus the Great Falls Stallions Tuesday night at Legion Field.
Ireland, backed by a 13-run outburst from his teammates, gave up only two hits and one run in five innings, dominating the Stallion offense to pick up a 13-1 win.
The Northstars completed the sweep with a 16-6 win in the nightcap.
"I had good velocity on my fastball, and my curve was really biting," Ireland said of his first-game performance.
Ireland also struck out seven, including four of the first six batters he faced. To make matters worse for Great Falls, they had only four balls reach outfield grass against Ireland.
The Northstars batted around in the second and fourth innings, bringing 10 men to the plate each inning and scoring five and six runs, respectively.
Havre catcher Garrett Hanson led the Northstars' attack, going 4-for-4 with four RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
"I finally started to hit the ball," Hanson said.
"We finally played our game, and we capitalized on their mistakes," Northstars coach Mickey Williams said.
Kyle Sheppard added two hits, two RBI and a run scored for the Northstars and Mike Kellam was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.
"My team was playing good defense behind me," Ireland said. "They were hitting the ball well and scored some runs for me."
Ireland had a one-hit shutout with two outs in the top of the fifth inning before walking Pete Thares and surrendering an RBI double to Ryan Langen. Langen was thrown out trying to stretch his double to a triple to end the game before further damage could be done.
"The count got to 3-1, and I didn't want to walk another man," Ireland said, referring to the double by Langen. "I wanted to throw it by him, but I didn't throw it hard enough and got it right down the middle. I really didn't want to give up that run."
In the second game the Northstars picked up where they left off in the first, scoring 16 runs on 12 hits.
Sheppard led the Northstars on the mound, pitching five innings and giving up six runs for the victory. Sheppard also went 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring two and driving in one.
David Knight had the big hit of the night for the Northstars, swinging on the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth to send a shot over the left-center field fence to end the game.