By Kim Staudinger
After taking two conference games from the Medicine Hat Knights this weekend at Legion Field, the Havre Northstars improved their conference record to 11-2 with one month left in the season.
The Northstars pounded out 15 hits and scored 17 runs in Sunday's matinee, winning 17-7 and completing the two game sweep of the Knights. The Northstars won the first game Saturday 12-3.
Doug Ireland flirted with a one-hit shutout in Sunday's game before giving up seven runs and six hits with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.
"We thought the game was over," Northstars coach Mickey Williams said. "We weren't prepared for that inning."
"I couldn't throw a strike, and when I did it went right down the middle," Ireland said. "They kept getting those Canadian bloops to right field."
Despite that one inning, the Northstars were very pleased with how the weekend went.
"We hit the ball well and played great defense," Williams said. "C.J. had a good day."
C.J. Reichelt may have caught the hitting bug, breaking out of his slump and going 4-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and one run scored.
"Everyone has been hitting the ball," Reichelt said.
Havre carried a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning, when it batted around and brought 11 men to the plate. Havre scored seven runs on only four hits and three Knight errors that inning.
Reichelt had two hits in the inning, including a two-out RBI double. Jordan Anderson had an RBI single and Jared Boyce added an RBI triple to account for Havre's only other hits of the inning.
Medicine Hat, facing an 11-0 defeat, came back in the top of the seventh and pounded out six hits and scored seven runs.
"I wasn't tired, I lost control," Ireland said. "I just wanted to finish the game and go get it over with."
The Northstars battled back in the bottom of the seventh with six runs and six hits of their own. Danny Wirtzberger ended the game for the Northstars with an RBI single that scored Mike Kellam.
Boyce got the start for Havre on Saturday and gave up only three runs and five hits. He struck out seven in his complete game effort.
It was a 2-1 ballgame until the bottom of the sixth when the Northstars hammered out six runs and six hits and sent 10 men to the plate.
Garrett Hanson had the big hit of the inning for Havre with a one-out double that plated two. Kyle Sheppard and David Knight also added RBI singles.
The Northstars scored four more runs in the seventh, but were unable to push the fifth run across the plate needed to call the game after seven innings.
Perhaps the strangest play in recent memory came with one out in the seventh as Anderson came up with the bases loaded. Anderson got a single to center, but thanks to his hustle and an error by the center fielder, he would score and clear the bases, making the score 12-3.
Anderson had the big bat of the night for Havre belting out five hits. He also added three stolen bases, three runs scored and two RBI.
"We started out slow," Anderson said. "Jared was pitching good and we started slacking off, but we stepped it up when we needed."