By Kim Staudinger
The Havre Comets, thrilled with their sensational season so far, look to continue the magic this weekend at the Class A North District tournament beginning Thursday at Legion Field.
The Comets (17-10 league, 28-26 overall) are looking to their deep pitching and strong bench to carry them through this weekend.
"We used 12 kids a lot this year," Comets coach Bob Evans said. "We are pretty solid at each position. If we do well, it is because we have depth. I don't see us as having any real weak spots."
Evans admits the Havre Northstars are the team to beat, but says that second place is a toss-up between the Comets and the Lethbridge Miners.
The one thing that may make the difference between a second-place finish and third place for the Comets is their record in past tournament play.
"We haven't played well in tournaments this year. We play well in doubleheaders," Evans said. "But, I believe that we can win on any given night."
The first opponent the Comets will face is the Vauxhall Spurs, whom the Comets beat three out of four times this season. Even with the three wins against Vauxhall, the Comets cannot afford to look past the Spurs.
"Vauxhall is an improved ballclub from when we first faced them," Evans said. "But I would like to hope we are, too. I am real confident we'll beat Vauxhall. We are a better team depth-wise than they are."
If the Comets beat Vauxhall, they could possibly play their older rivals, the Northstars, but Evans said they can't look past the Spurs.
"We have to be focused on Vauxhall only right now," he said. "That is the game we have to get by. The next day is when we will worry about who we play."
Evans said Tyler Thompson will most likely get the nod as his starting pitcher for the game against the Spurs, adding he feels he has his best team on the field when Thompson is on the mound. Evans said he is unsure of who will pitch in the following games.
The Comets will also need production through their lineup, especially from their top three batters Steve Heberly (.406 batting average), Ian Spencer (.390) and Daine Solomon (.377).
Cory Junck leads the team with 35 RBI, Spencer is second with 32 and Solomon third with 31.
Another overlooked factor is the Comets' ability to throw out opposing teams' attempts to steal bases. Havre catchers Adam Jensen and Garrett Drake have thrown out 27 of 80 (33 percent) potential base-stealers this season.