The story for the Havre High softball program early on this season has been too many errors, and that one bad inning defensively that the Blue Ponies just can’t seem to shake from their system.
Fortunately neither was really a factor in a Central A conference win over Browning on Saturday. But facing a much better opponent in the conference rival Belgrade Panthers Thursday, the Ponies found it a bit harder to win when not playing to their full potential. Belgrade defeated Havre in both doubleheader games in Belgrade, the first game 8-2, and the nightcap 12-2 in Belgrade. HHS made its home debut Saturday and recorded a 21-0 win over the Indians in just five innings of work.
The Ponies are now 1-2 in the division and 1-2 overall as last week’s games were the Ponies’ first action outside of a jamboree.
In the win over the Indians, the Ponies began the game with their starters, but quickly got the junior varsity girls some varsity actions. Rachel Majeres also got the pitching start, but her as well as the majority of the starters checked out of the ballgame after just two innings of work. The personnel change came after HHS got out to an 11-0 lead through two innings. All 11 runs were scored in the first frame on six hits and four Indian errors.
“Our starters got to play because it is about respecting all opponents and fearing none,” Havre High head coach Danny Wirtzberger said. “We respect everybody, and we wanted to jump out to an early lead, which we did, so we were able to get all of our younger kids in. It is always good to get the conference win, we need those for a better seeding at divisionals. We got our win, and we were able to get everybody some playing time in the same process, so that was fantastic.”
Through the remainder of the game, the Ponies tacked on 10 more runs on 21 total hits. And after averaging around five errors a game this season, the Ponies were able to limit their mistakes to just two, both coming in the top of the fourth, and neither leading to a run by Browning.
And from the rubber, Majers and Tori Mazurkiewicz combined for five innings of work, giving up zero hits, two combined walks, and 12 combined strikeouts.
Jacey Macdonald led the HHS offense with a 3-for-3 appearance and two RBIs. But China Bohn and Majeres had two hits and three RBIs each to help lead the way. Sidney Huston was 2-for-5 with one RBI, while Mazurkiewicz was 2-for-2 with one RBI, Claire Worm was 2-for-3 with one RBI, and Tracyn LaBuda was 2-for-2 with one RBI. Jaycelyn Hassa, Schout Boucher, Paige Warren, Shaniah Carlson, Jordyn Warren, and Mady Corcoran had one hit each, with Huston, Corcoran, and Boucher grabbing one RBI each. Jordyn Warren drove in two RBIs on her first inning double.
Mazurkiewicz also hit a double, while Bohn hit two doubles in the outing.
Suffering two losses to Belgrade two days prior, the Ponies hit the ball well, but the hits were spread out and with no runners in scoring position. And in Game One, the Ponies even outhit the Panthers 8-4. In Game Two, the Ponies were out hit by four, but grabbed seven hits.
Unfortunately the 15 hits were good for just four runs.
“We did, we had more hits in the first game,” Wirtzberger said. “And then we jumped out to an early lead in the second game. It looked like things were going in the right direction, but it is about compacting multiple hits on top of each other. Belgrade did that well, and we were getting one hit an inning. We had more base runners than them all through both games too, but we have to find a way to hit better with runners in scoring position.”
But the Ponies also hurt themselves with 16 errors, eight in each game.
And continuing to have those bad innings after great stretches of softball, the Ponies held the Panthers scoreless through four innings in the first game. In the fifth inning the Panthers scored five runs, followed by three more in the sixth. And in the nightcap, the Ponies led 2-0 through the top of the second, but gave up five quick runs in the bottom of the second. Belgrade turned the 5-2 lead into a 12-2 win over the Ponies.
“We need to find a way to get rid of those one bad innings,” Wirtzberger said. "We played fantastic defense through the first six innings of the first game, we couldn’t have played any better. But we had only played five inning games before that, and after five innings I think we let up a little bit. That is my fault for not having more game-type situations, but between now and May 23, we will find a way to beat them and we will be working hard on that in practice.”
In half one of the doubleheader, the Ponies got one hit from Majeres and Paige Henderson, and two from Scout Boucher. Majeres also had two RBIs. Dani Wagner, Jordyn Warren, Tori Mazurkieiwcz and Morgan Mazurkieiwcz had one hit each. In the second loss to the Panthers, the Ponies were led by Wagner’s two hits. Jordyn Warren and Majeres had one hit and one error each, while Carlson, Tori Mazurkiewicz, and Morgan Mazurkiewicz had one hit each.
Thursday, the Ponies will face the Indians again, this time in Browning. And Friday and Saturday, the Ponies will remain on the road, this time competing in the Conrad Invite in Conrad.
Belgrade 8, Havre 2
Havre 000 000 2 – 2 8 8
Belgrade 000 053 X – 8 4 4
WP - J. Taylor; LP - Rachel Majeres
Havre – Paige Henderson 1-4, Rachel Majeres 1-4 2RBIs, Dani Wagner 1-4, Scout Boucher 2-3, Harlee Boucher 0-3, Shania Carlson 0-3, Tori Mazurkiewicz 1-3, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1-3, Jordyn Warren 1-3.
Belgrade – S. Newbauer 0-4 RBI, K. West 0-3, H Goulet 0-2, A. Rollins 1-3, A. Alstrom 1-3, R. Cygan 0-1, K. Bethke 1-2, J. Branch 1-1 2RBIs, J. Taylor 0-3, R. Salsbury 0-3 RBI.
Belgrade 12, Havre 2
Belgrade 052 112 1 – 12 11 2
Havre 110 000 0 – 2 7 8
WP - J. Branch; LP - Rachel Majeres
Belgrade – S. Neubauer 1-4 RBI, K. West 1-3, H. Goulet 0-3, A. Rollins 1-2 RBI, A. Alstrom 1-4, R. Cygan 3-4 RBI, J. Branch 2-3 3RBIs, T. Salsbury 1-3, S. Krone 0-3, N. Schlatesch 1-4 RBI.
Havre – Jordyn Warren 1-1 RBI, Rachel Majeres 1-2 RBI, Dani Wagner 2-3, Shania Carlson 1-2, Scout Boucher 0-3, Sidney Huston 0-2, Paige Henderson 0-3, Jayeclyn Hassa 0-1, Harlee Boucher 0-1, Tori Mazurkiewicz 0-4, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 0-3, China Bohn 0-2.
Havre High's Jacey MacDinald runs to third base during Saturday's Central A softball game between the Havre Blue Ponies and Browning Indians at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field. The Blue Ponies won 21-0 in their home opener.
Havre 21, Browning 0
Havre (11)04 6x – 21 21 2
Browning 000 00 – 0 0 7
WP – Rachel Majeres; LP – K. Higgins
Havre – Chinah Bohn 2-3 3RBIs, Sidney Huston 2-5 RBI, Paige Henerson 0-0, Jaycelyn Hassa 1-2, Rachel Majeres 2-2 3RBIs, Tori Mazurkiewicz 2-2 RBI, Scout Boucher 1-2 RBI, Paige Warren 1-2, Harlee Boucher 0-1, Jace Macdonald 3-3 2RBIs, Shania Carlson 1-1, Claire Worm 2-3 RBI, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 0-0 RBI, Tracyn Labuda 2-2 RBI, Jordyn Warren 1-1 2RBIs, Mady Corcoran 1-3 RBI.
Browning – S. Reed 0-2, C. Pree 0-2, S. Kennerly 0-1, K. Higgins 0-2, W Pree 0-1, B. Padgett 0-2, S. Bullshoe 0-2, A. Boggs 0-2, K. Bullchild 0-2.