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Havre North Stars swept in Canada


Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]

The Havre North Stars American Legion baseball team was looking good after a string of conference wins, but after another week long drought from competition, the North Stars had to try and get back into the swing of things. On Wednesday, the North Stars were back on the road where they faced the Fort MacLeod Royals in a Northern Division doubleheader. In game one the Royals defeated the North Stars 3-2, and in game two the Royals defeated the North stars 11-1 to complete the conference sweep. “Coming off a week with no games I knew we would be sluggish,” North Star's head coach Steve Fanning said. “And that is what I was afraid might happen. But we also came into this double header not at full strength and I think this got us out of our rhythm as well.” In game one of the afternoon the North Stars looked good. But despite a brilliant performance by Paul Jensen on the mound, the offense wasn't able to produce enough runs to capture a win. Brandon Smith led the way offensively by going 3-of-3, and Kyle Miller, Jon Currie and Paul Jensen all added a hit as well. “Paul Jensen started the game and threw his best game of the year,” Fanning said. “We thought he had his best stuff going and he sure put us in a position to win that game. If a couple breaks go our way we win. But offensively we didn't get much help.” In the North Stars and Royals encore, pitching was a problem for the North Stars. Smith took the mound to get things started and he struggled early. And after only two and half innings the Royals bats forced a pitching change, bringing in Will DeVries in relief. “Brandon Smith didn't show what he has been able to as of late,” Fanning said. "Basically this was one of those games where our pitching fell apart early, gave them a big lead and we looked out of the game early.” Offensively, the North Stars struggled as well. Scoring only one run in the game, the bats were led by Justin Jensen who had two hits, one of which was a triple. “We need to improve on facing adversity early in a game,” Fanning said. “It will happen and this team needs to respond better to be able to compete.” The North Stars dropped to .500 and a 10-10 conference record with the two losses, but Fanning did see some good things come out of the series. “We did show in game one that we can compete with anyone in our conference,” Fanning said. “This is the No. 1 seed in the Northern District and I know that we are right there with them if we play to our abilities.” Now the North Stars will face another test coming throughout the next five days. Friday through Sunday the North Stars will attend a nonconference tournament in Glendive, and then return home for two more tough conference opponents. On Monday, July 17 the North Stars will host the Royals in makeup doubleheader in Havre, and on Tuesday they will host Lethbridge. Monday and Tuesday's games will both be played at Legion field and will begin at 3 p.m each day. “These are the top two seeds in our conference at our diamond,” Fanning said. “We need to get the bats rolling over the weekend and come in ready to win some games and gain some ground in the standings, right now being the fifth seed.”


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