Blue Ponies look to continue hot start
April 23, 2009
Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]
The Havre High softball team has dominated all of its competition five games into the season, but the Blue Ponies first big challenge may be lying just around the corner. On Friday, the Class A Ponies will be on the road where they will face the powerhouse Polson Pirates in two Western A matchups. Game one will start at 2 p.m. while game two of the double header will get under away at 3:30 p.m. in Polson. “They are a good squad.” Havre High head coach Bob Evans said. “Probably one of the top three or four teams in the state to beat. It's going to be a hard double header for us. Being on the road and having to beat probably one of the best teams in the state, it's going to be a battle.” The Pirates have made it a habit of showing up to the state tournament, and though it's early in the season, they look as if they are the team to beat. But the Ponies are also looking strong and should be able to hold their own, entering with a 5-0 overall and conference record. “It's fun to win.” Evans said. “And we know we can win, so I think it's better going in with five victories rather than five losses. All I expect out of them is to go down there and compete. Everybody wants to win, but I just want to go compete against a good team.” And for the Ponies to compete, their gameplan is the same as it has been all season long. They need a good outing by the pitching staff, and a solid defensive outing to back it up. Karly Evans, Tabitha Myers and Abi Ita have all taken the mound for the Ponies this season, and they have all turned in outstanding performances. Karly Evans has recorded wins over the Browning Indians and the Whitefish Bulldogs. And Ita has been victorious over the Libby Loggers, while Myers has won against the Loggers and Bulldogs. This time around, Myers will pitch one game for sure, and the call on who will pitch the other game against the Pirates will be made closer to game time. Ita and Karly Evans are both pitching very well, the decision will just depend on who's arm is feeling better. It will be a challenge no matter who takes the mound on Friday, but to keep in contention the Ponies can't hurt themselves by giving up a lot of walks. Even if the Pirates put every ball in play, the HHS defense has stepped up over and over this season, and has shown they can make the big plays. “If we don't get good pitching and good defense we are in trouble.” Evans said. “And right now they are playing good defense. We've got 11 or 12 kids that have played really really well and I am not disappointed in any of them. I think they are doing a great job.” Continuing to get good at bats will also help the Ponies. They have been exploding offensively and have scored over 10 runs in each of their five previous games, including a 14-run performance against the Indians. “They are all hitting well.” Evans said. “And as a team they are all just playing very well. Everybody is just stepping up to the plate and doing a good job for me as a team.” Every team wants to win, no matter the opponent. But more importantly, on Friday the Ponies are just trying to focus on competing and seeing where they stand up against a tough team like the Pirates. It will be the first true test for the Ponies, and going 5-2 or 7-0 won't totally make or break the season this early on. “The wins and losses aren't as important.” Evans said. “I just want my girls to go there and learn how to compete and to compete against a good team. That's where our program has to go, we have to be able to compete in every ball game. That way they know where this ball team is from.” The Ponies and Pirates face off in a doubleheader on Friday, in Polson. Game starts at 2 p.m. while game starts at 3:30 p.m.