By Kim Staudinger
The Havre Comets showed just how much they have grown as a team Thursday night in their opening game of the 2002 Baseball Jamboree.
The Comets gave up one big inning to Glasgow and could have fallen apart. Instead, they dug down and battled back.
That determination, combined with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, led Havre to a 7-6 win over Glasgow.
"We're starting to really play together well now," Comets first baseman Ben Mader said.
In a back-and-forth game, the Comets found themselves down 6-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Havre loaded the bases after back-to-back singles by catcher Patch Wirtzberger and shortstop Trent Normandy. Then a walk one batter later to third baseman Chazz Hurlburt set up a potential game-winning situation for center fielder Levi Briese.
Briese lined a shot to Glasgow shortstop Steve Falcon, and it appeared like the Reds were going to escape the inning unscathed. But Falcon rushed his throw, pulling first baseman Andy Mock off the bag. Briese, using his football skills, dove over Mock and rolled over the bag.
Amid the confusion as to whether Briese touched first base and avoided the tag, two runs scored and the Comets regained the lead. Briese was safe on the play, but was picked off two pitches later to end the inning.
Comets pitcher Alex Chenoweth came in at the top of the seventh and allowed a two-out single before ending the game. Chenoweth pitched a complete game for the win.
"Alex pitched a great game," Comets coach Bob Evans said. "He's like a bulldog out there."
The Comets took a 3-0 lead into the third inning. But the Reds, who won the previous game, 19-6, over Kootenai Valley, created some two-out magic and plated four runs on four hits in their half of the third.
Reds second baseman Tyler Edwards delivered the big blow in the inning with a two-run triple. Falcon followed with a single to center to drive in Edwards.
Edwards also blasted a double in the fifth inning, increasing Glasgow's lead to 5-3.
The Comets tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning as Mader laced a two-run single to center, driving in Chris Chandler and Hurlburt. Mader finished the game 3-for-3 with three singles and three RBI.
"I was hitting the ball in the cage real well," Mader said.
Mader said he was taking heat from teammates about hitting so well in the cage, but not in the game. He decided to go out and "prove them wrong," he said.
Glasgow scored another run in the sixth inning to retake the lead. Edwards singled with two outs, and scored after two consecutive errors by Havre right fielder Kaare Engebretson. Edwards went 3-for-4 for the Reds with three runs scored and two RBI.
"I was just pleased we got down and were able to come back and hold them," Evans said.
Hurlburt and Wirtzberger added 2-for-3 games for Havre. Each scored two runs and drove in one.
The true test for the Comets is just beginning. They play two games today and one Saturday and Sunday, marking their longest weekend of the season thus far.
The Comets take on the Sparkies Wednesday in a doubleheader in Great Falls before leaving for a three-day tournament in Gallatin Valley next weekend.
"These five ballgames are going to be a test for us," Evans said. "We will have to see how they hold up. That's going to be the true test for us."
The Comets played this morning at 10:15 against Williston and will be back in action again at 5 p.m. against Kootenai Valley.
Glasgow 004 011 0
6 9 1
Havre Comets 210 022 x 7 9 3
Nate Hofstad and Luke Morehouse; Alex Chenoweth and Patch Wirtzberger. W Chenoweth. L Hofstad.