Compared to Thursday's matchups with the Belgrade Panthers, Saturday’s home games against the Browning Indians will have a much different feel for the Havre High faspitch softball team.
After facing the Class A power Panthers in two games on the road Thursday, the Central A Blue Ponies (0-2) will now face the conference rival Browning Indians Saturday at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field in Havre. The Ponies and Indians will faceoff at 1 p.m., marking the long awaited home debut for the Ponies this season.
Coaches, players, and fans are always excited for the Ponies to play at home. Like most teams, it seems like the HHS program spends most of its season on the road, making every home game an exciting game.
“It is going to be fun to play at home over the Easter break,” Havre High head coach Danny Wirtzberger said. “The girls will get to play in front of their friends and families, and it is a chance to show off our field because we do have the best field and fan base in the state.”
With all due respect to the Indians, Saturday, local fans should be able to witness the Ponies earn a relatively easy win in conference action.
Browning continues to put out a softball program, but wins have not been easy to come by. The Ponies have swept the two game, home and away series for years now, and should get the win in game one at home. And while a more solidified lineup has been was drawn up for Thursday's games in Belgrade, Saturday’s lineup will see a ton of moves and changes, as Wirtzberger will use a lot of his younger girls.
The lineup of Rachel Majeres (pitcher), Shaniah Carlson (catcher), Harlee Boucher (first), Tori Mazurkiewicz (second), Paige Henderson (shortstop), Morgan Mazurkiewicz (third), Jordyn Warren (left field), Dani Wagner (center field) and Scout Boucher (right field) give the Ponies the best opportunity to win games right now, but facing Browning means a lot of young and junior varsity players can see some varsity innings, pitches and live game situations.
“I am going to bring up a lot of young girls to get some varsity work,” Wirtzberger said. “If we do jump ahead it is nice for the young girls to get that exposure and some at bats, but it also doesn’t help our varsity girls to face the kind of pitching Browning brings. But defensively, it is still a chance for us to get back to the basics and really try to perfect our game.”
Players like starting center fielder Wagner will miss Saturday all together, meaning coach Wirtzberger will get a very good look at who he can lean on as a backup.
With the Indians finding it difficult to be competitive in the Central A, the Ponies should be able to get a lot of extra work in Saturday. It will be a live scrimmage type atmosphere, and the coaches will look to tweak and critique all areas of play before moving on with a long and tough 2014 schedule.
Meanwhile, Thursday in Belgrade, HHS opened league play with a pair of tough losses. In game one, the Panthers beat the Ponies 8-2, and in the nightcap, Havre fell 12-2. For complete story on Thursday's games in Belgrade, see Monday's Havre Daily News.
Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m. between the Ponies and Indians at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field in Havre.