Young Havre program finishes one win away from state berth
By Kim Staudinger
one win away from state berth
The Havre Northstars, after falling to the Lethbridge Miners in the North District Baseball Tournament semifinals, were forced to play in an unfamiliar situation Sunday afternoon in the North District Baseball Tournament the losers' bracket.
To make things worse for the Northstars, they had to play their rivals, the surging Havre Comets, who had just come off an emotional victory against the Fort Macleod Royals just hours before.
But experience won out over momentum as the Northstars cruised to a 13-3 win over the Comets in a seven-inning ballgame Sunday.
"It was a situation neither one of us wanted to be in," Northstars coach Mickey Williams said. "If we could have played them in the (championship game), it would have been great."
The Comets, who had been unable to beat the Northstars this year in five previous meetings, were riding a high from their two come-from-behind victories on Saturday and were looking for revenge against the Northstars.
"It was tough coming off last night's loss," Northstars' third baseman Kyle Sheppard said. "You don't know how the team will react after that. We had to come in with more intensity since the game had more meaning to it with a state berth on the line."
The Northstars were retired in order in the first, but scored at least one run in each inning following to go on to the easy win.
The Northstars capitalized on two errors by Comets second baseman Chris Chandler and also had four hits en route to five runs in the third.
David Knight blasted a triple to deep right-center field, which scored two runs and made the score 4-1. Garrett Hanson redeemed himself for two errors early in the game and drove in Knight on a single to center.
Sheppard put the exclamation point on the victory by hitting a home run, capping a three-run sixth. The Northstars would score two more runs in the seventh, sealing the win and securing the state berth.
"I knew if I could get one up in the air, it would have a good shot at going out," Sheppard said. "I wanted to turn on one, and it paid off."
The Comets capitalized on two Northstars errors in the first and scored one run on an RBI single by pitcher Ian Spencer.
The Comets scored an unearned run in the sixth and one more in the seventh, but gave the Northstars too many extra outs.
"Errors killed us today," Comets coach Bob Evans said. "We should have been ahead 1-0 after the fifth inning. We didn't get any breaks, but the kids still played awesome. They hit one of the best pitchers (Jared Boyce) in the state hard.
"The kids stepped up when they could have quit and when they could have walked away."
Spencer led the Comets with three hits and Cory Junck added a 2-for-3 effort.
The Northstars were led by Sheppard, who went 3-for-4. Knight was 2-for-3.