Havre has found recent success on the softball diamond due to some great bats. The Central A Blue Ponies were briefly cooled down Tuesday night in nonleague play in Great Falls, but heating the bats back up going into the weekend could mean three much needed conference wins.
In the last week the Ponies conference record was bumped up to 3-2 with a win over Lewistown Monday in Havre. The Ponies’ overall record also now sits at 5-3 after a loss to the CMR junior varsity Tuesday evening. But moving forward the Ponies will play three important conference games over the weekend.
Today, the Ponies will be in Lewistown to face the Golden Eagles for the second and final time this regular season. But Saturday the Ponies will return home, welcoming in the Livingston Rangers for a conference doubleheader at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field in Havre. The home doubleheader will begin at 3 p.m.
“We have three conference games that we are very excited about,” Havre High head coach Danny Wirtzberger said. “But we know we have to first focus on the Lewistown game. But Friday night we will start talking about Livingston and what they do well, and what we have to do to stop them and win those games. We know Lewistown beat Livingston, and every matchup is different, but Livingston has a long trip up to Havre, and we know that is in our favor, that is a hard and long trip. We just want to continue to hit the ball, and if Rachel (Majeres) keeps throwing the ball the way she has, we will be tough to beat.”
Coming off of Monday’s win over the Eagles at home, the Ponies are very aware of what they will face in Lewistown Friday.
The Eagles have a very talented team, and won’t let the Ponies get a regular season sweep without a fight. Cassi Miller should earn the pitching start against the Ponies again, but last time around HHS went off for 11 runs on 16 hits, including a homerun by Paige Henderson and a homerun by Shania Carlson. The win over the Eagles was the first for the Ponies in six seasons, and a season sweep would be a nice addition to the HHS program.
But the Ponies also gave up 14 hits and committed four errors last time out against the Eagles. Rachel Majeres will most likely get the pitching starts all weekend long, and Majeres will most likely need the same run support she got in Monday’s win. That means the Ponies will look for the likes of Paige Henderson, Dani Wagner, Majeres and Carlson to get the bats heated back up against the Eagles and Rangers. Tori and Morgan Mazurkiewicz have also had some productive offensive outings as of late, and should also be factors if the Blue Ponies look to get back in a run scoring groove.
Livingston has a stout defense, and should make the Ponies earn every run they get. Coach Wirtzberger noted the talent at the catcher, shortstop and left field positions, as well as the talent from likely starting pitcher Sierra Higgs. But the Rangers can also swing the bats with a lineup that includes talent like Megan Gibson, Jacey Schleicher, Meadow Ingram, Higgs and Mackenzie Corder. Ingram has shown homerun power this season, while the Rangers showed they could rally for hits after hanging 16 hits in a loss to Laurel earlier this season.
“Livingston is a talented team, but if we play like we played (Monday against Lewistown) then we will be tough to beat,” Wirtzberger said. “But we have to hit the ball like that every game because every team that we face is getting seven or eight runs against us. We have to outscore teams. And it isn’t because we are making errors like we were early, it is because we are facing tough hitting teams, that is what they work on all year long, just like we do.”
Friday the Ponies will face the Eagles in Lewistown for one conference game. Saturday the Ponies will host Livingston in Havre for a conference doubleheader. Both games will be played at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field in Havre, with game one set for 3 p.m. Havre will close out its regular season next weekend in Butte.