Northstars thrash Vauxhall; four play in last home game
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Four 18-year-olds played their last home games Monday afternoon at Legion Field in Havre.
Eric Lipp, Doug Ireland, Dusty Heath and Danny Wirtzberger, who will all play college baseball next spring, ended their careers with two conference wins against the Vauxhall Spurs.
Havre won the first, 11-1, and the second, 12-0. With the two victories, the Northstars' record now is 42-9 overall and 28-2 in conference play.
Ireland, a pitcher, said he is fortunate to have played American Legion baseball.
"I've enjoyed playing on the greatest field and in the best organization in Legion baseball," he said.
Ireland also credited his coach, Mickey Williams, for the support and knowledge he has provided. Ireland highlighted his last home doubleheader with his first stolen base of the year in the first game.
While Ireland has fond memories of playing for the Northstars, one of his teammates has a regret.
"I never got to jack one," Heath, a second baseman, said laughing, referring to hitting a home run at Legion Field.
Steve Heberly pitched the first game for the Northstars, giving up only five hits. The Spurs only run came in the third inning.
Six runs in the fourth put the game out of reach for Vauxhall. Havre took advantage of two Vauxhall errors and had five hits in the inning. Wirtzberger and Heath each had two RBI in the inning. Wirtzberger lined a single to center and Heath blooped a double to left-center field. Both scored later in the inning.
Wirtzberger ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning as he smashed a RBI single to left field. That put the score at 11-1, and forced the 10-run rule.
Wirtzberger finished the first game 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Ian Spencer took the mound for the second game and tossed a three-hit shutout. He didn't walk a batter.
Spencer admitted that he didn't have his best stuff on the hill and credited his teammates for their strong defense.
"I had a great defense behind me that made a lot of great plays," he said. "The fielders were great."
Spencer tossed a one-hitter, walking none, in his previous matchup with Vauxhall.
The Northstars scored early and often in the nightcap.
Havre scored three runs in the first inning, five in the second and four in the third to blow the game wide open.
Wirtzberger and Heath again combined for the big blows of the second inning, each with two RBI. Wirtzberger singled and Heath doubled with no outs.
"The offense gave me a lot of run support so I only had to pitch five innings," Spencer said.
After taking their final trip around the bases a Havre Legion baseball tradition Ireland and Heath recalled their favorite memories as Northstars.
Heath said his favorite memory was of Williams during last year's Northern Class A District Tournament in Havre.
"My favorite memory is Mick throwing his dentures on the ground," Heath said.
Ireland's favorite memory was also last season when the Northstars came back from nearly 15 runs to beat Lethbridge at the state tournament to advance to the championship game.
In other games, Havre returned Sunday from a successful trip to Missoula. The Northstars won three games and lost two.
Havre defeated Missoula, 8-7, in its first game but was shut out in its next game, 5-0, by Gallatin Valley. In their first game Saturday, the Northstars defeated Lethbridge, 9-8, and later defeated Coeur d'Alene, 11-2. Havre lost its final game, 7-6, to Bitterroot.
The Northstars next games are Wednesday at Fort MacLeod and Thursday at Lethbridge. Their regular season will wrap up Sunday at Medicine Hat AA. The Northstars and Comets will then travel to Great Falls for the Northern Class A District Baseball Tournament, beginning July 25.