HHS drops twin bill to Wildcats
Unfortunately for the Havre High softball program, two games slipped away from the Blue Ponies this weekend. But despite the two losses, the signs of improvement were still there.
A Columbia Falls' baserunner collides with Havre High catcher Mary Lyons (left) during a Class A softball doubleheader Saturday in Columbia Falls.
, the Central A Ponies were in Columbia Falls, taking on the non conference Wildcats in a doubleheader. The Wildcats defeated the Ponies in both games, the first by a score of 5-1, and the second by a score of 10-6.
But as the young Ponies' squad still attempts to come into its own, they continue to take positive steps. Last season the Wildcats pounced all over the Ponies in two games, but this season the Ponies held their own in the two losses. In the two games last season, the Wildcats used 32 hits to defeat the Ponies by a total, two game score of 27-1.
"We are seeing improvement," Havre High head coach Mike Thill said. "Each game is getting better and better. Columbia Falls is a quality team, and they just beat Polson earlier in the week, so we are seeing the improvement."
HHS was competitive in both games, but just couldn't contain the Wildcat bats for the full seven innings.
In game one, the Ponies went up 1-0 after the first inning, before the Wildcats tied the game at 1-1 in the third. And in the fifth inning, Columbia Falls grabbed four more runs, closing out the Ponies 5-1. And in the nightcap, the Ponies grabbed six runs in the second inning to take an early 6-0 lead. But this time, the Wildcats woke up in the fourth, scoring 10 runs in the win. Neither team scored in the remaining innings.
After a sluggish outing against Conrad on Thursday, it was good to see the HHS bats come alive. But while the offense was finding ways to score, it is the Pitching that needs to find ways to close out teams.
"It comes down to pitching," Thill said. "You can't give up 10 runs in one inning. We left four or five pitches right in the middle of the plate, and they turned into hits, and by the time we got anybody warmed up, it was too late. But she (Davee McLeod) shut them out in the first, second and third innings, and then again in the fifth and sixth."
Rachel Majers pitched game one, and allowed just three hits, two walks, and struck out four. And while McLeod looked good for most of game two, it was the fifth inning that hurt her chances. McLeod shut out the Wildcats in the first, second, third, fifth, and sixth innings.
"Columbia Falls is probably one of the better hitting teams in the state," Thill said. "And Rachel Majers only gave up three hits. She is emerging as a valuable pitcher, and it is definitely looking like we will have some kind of rotation this season."
The Ponies were also up against some tough pitching, but managed to put some hits together.
Facing Ashley Trueblood in the first game, the Ponies had just one hit, but also took advantage of two Wildcat errors. Boles had a bunt single in the first inning. But in the second game, the Ponies were facing Shaun Rowe and put together seven hits. Boles went 3-of-4, while Paige Henderson and Morgan Mazurkiewicz both went 1-of-4, while Clarissa Martin and Masha Barnekoff both went 1-of-3. Mazurkiewicz and Henderson both had one RBI each.
With the two losses, the Ponies are now 1-3 overall, but remain 1-0 in the conference. And next in line for the Ponies, is conference rivals Belgrade and Livingston, as the Ponies will host the Panthers on Friday and the Rangers Saturday. The junior varsity will play two more games at home on Tuesday, when they host Shelby.
Columbia Falls 5, Blue Ponies 1
Havre 100 000 0 – 1 0 1
Col. Falls 001 040 x – 5 3 2
WP – Ashley Trueblood; LP – Rachel Majers
Havre – Michaela Boles 1-3, Sydne Huston 0-3, Davee McLeod 0-3, Mary Lyons 0-2, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 0-2, Paige Henderson 0-2, Clarissa Martin 0-3, Masha Barnekoff 0-2, Lexi Olson 0-2.
Columbia Falls 10, Blue Ponies 6
Havre 060 0 00 0 – 6 1 2
Columbia Falls 000 (10)00 x – 10 10 7
WP – Shaun Rowe; LP Davee McLeod
Havre – Michaela Boles 3-4, Paige Henderson 1-4 RBI, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 1-4 RBI, Clarissa Martin 1-3.