By Kim Staudinger
After a huge win over the Lethbridge Miners Monday, the Havre Comets knew they could play with any team in the conference.
That confidence carried the Comets to two more conference wins Wednesday over the Great Falls Sparkies. The Comets also showed growth by pulling out wins in close games something they had problems with earlier in the season.
"We can win close games but we haven't been winning them most of the year. We've been struggling with them," Comets player Trent Normandy said.
Normandy, who pitched the first game for the Comets, struck out seven and gave up only four hits in Havre's 3-2 win. Normandy then had a 2-for-3 game for the Comets in their 4-2 win in the second game of the American Legion doubleheader.
"It was a big win for us. Both of them. I hope we can keep this going," Normandy said. "Our confidence is way up right now. We're playing well. Our pitching's been real tough."
The Comets had a little something to prove Wednesday, Normandy said.
"We were very disappointed when we got swept down in Great Falls by this team," he said.
Great Falls took advantage of a costly error that allowed a run to score in the top of the first inning in game one. The error kept the inning going and allowed the Sparkies to score one more run to take a 2-0 lead.
But the Comets settled down and only gave up one more hit the rest of the game. Havre scored runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings.
Catcher Garrett Drake was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Chandler. Chazz Hurlburt drilled a long foul ball next, which was caught by the Sparkies' left fielder, allowing Drake to tag up and score the winning run.
Patch Wirtzberger, who scored the game-winning run against Lethbridge Monday, had a 2-for-4 game with a double, an infield hit, one run scored and an RBI.
"I'm happy. We really needed these two wins," Comets coach Bob Evans said. "We couldn't afford to lose these two games. It's more fun to win three in a row than to lose three in a row."
Ben Mader continued the relentless pitching for the Comets in game two. Mader gave up two runs on four hits in the first inning, but calmed down and allowed only one hit in the remainging six innings. He struck out eight.
The Comets scored four runs on four hits and one Great Falls error in the third to take the lead and hold it.
Mader helped himself out at the plate in the inning as he perfectly placed a suicide squeeze bunt. Heads- up base running by the Comets allowed two runs to score on the play. Mader also scored in the inning on a two-out single by Coda Tchida.
"I think they're starting to play with a little more confidence. They're starting to play better," Evans said.
Normandy and Mader topped the Havre batting with 2-for-3 games. Each scored once and Mader drove in two.
The Comets will take their winning streak to a three-day tournament in Medicine Hat, beginning today.