Blue Ponies headed to Class A state softball tournament
Havre girls finish third at Central A softball tournament; Ponies face Miles City Thursday in Polson
Last updated 5/27/2014 at 11:17am
The wait is over. The Havre High softball program will make its first trip to the Class A state tournament in five seasons.
It was another long season with plenty of ups and downs for the Central A Blue Ponies, but after two days at the divisional tournament in Belgrade, the Ponies will take on the best of the best this weekend at state.
Friday and Saturday in Belgrade, the Ponies went 2-2 at the second annual Central A softball tournament to finish in third place. It took a championship and a challenge game to do so, but Belgrade won the title over Livingston. All three teams will represent the Central A at the state tournament in Polson.
Friday the Ponies opened with a 19-0 win over Browning, but followed with a loss to Belgrade 5-0. In Havre’s third game of the day, the Ponies punched their ticket to state with an impressive 11-5 win over Lewistown in the consolation bracket. Saturday the Ponies were still alive in the hunt for a divisional title, but ran into a tough Belgrade Panthers team yet again. This time the Ponies narrowly missed out on a win, suffering a 6-4 loss to the Panthers. It was a tough loss, but the Ponies are state bound, and that is what really matters.
“That was a very gratifying feeling,” Havre High head coach Danny Wirtzberger said. “There was sense of belonging to something bigger than just yourself, and all of the girls felt that. They were very ready to be the new team that made it to the state tournament, and they came out and played their best game of the year when they needed to, when their backs were up against the wall. They just played phenomenally, and we had fantastic fan support through every single one of our games, they made it like a home game for us, so they need a lot of that credit too. But it was very gratifying to work that hard all season long and achieve your goal.”
HHS was expected to get the win over Browning in the opening round Friday, and the Ponies were confident they could get a win over the Panthers as well. Unfortunately, after scoring 19 runs on 14 hits over the Indians, the Ponies combined for no runs on no hits against a very impressive Kristin West in the pitching circle for the Panthers.
But like the Ponies have done on several occasions this season, they proved they could bounce back in a short turnaround. Facing the Lewistown Golden Eagles in loser-out action, it was either extend the season or go home for the Ponies. The Ponies chose to extend their season with 11 runs on 14 hits, as they beat the Eagles for the second time this season. And HHS took control early, scoring one run in the third, two in the fourth, and four more in the fifth to take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Eagles didn’t get on the board until the sixth inning, as Havre’s Rachel Majeres was impressive as the starting pitcher. But even with scoring three runs, the Ponies answered back with four more runs in the bottom half of the inning to maintain an 11-3 lead. The Eagles did come up with two more runs in the seventh, but it was too little too late as the Ponies got out with the six run victory.
Majeres pitched outstandingly, and she helped her own cause by going 2-for-5 from the plate. But from the pitching circle, Majeres pitched all seven innings and faced 32 batters. She racked up 127 total pitches, but hurled 81 strikes on route to giving up three earned runs on eight hits and one base on balls. Majeres also struck out three. Paige Henderson also had a huge day at the plate for the Ponies. Henderson has been a leader in the offense all season long, but really stepped up with three hits and one of the five total RBIs. Morgan Mazurkiewicz was 2-for-4, and Tori Mazurkiewicz was 2-for-4 with one RBI. Scout Boucher, Dani Wagner, Shania Carlson, Jacey McDonald, and Jordyn Warren all had one hit each, while Carlson, McDonald, and Warren all had one RBI each.
“We have showed we can bounce back, and the girls did it again,” Wirtzberger said. “And softball is a great sport because your next game can be hours away or the next day, it isn’t like football where you have to wait a week. But we actually played one of our best games of the year when we lost to Belgrade 5-0. Our sticks didn’t turn on but we played great defensively, and actually rolled all of that confidence into our Lewistown game.”
Saturday HHS ran into the Panthers for the second consecutive day. The Ponies played the Panthers to a tight loss, but it was still a positive step for the Ponies as it was the best they have played the Panthers all season long. And in the fourth overall meeting this season, the Ponies even held an early 3-1 lead through four innings of action. But the Belgrade bats couldn’t be quieted for long as they rallied for four lead-changing runs in the fifth. The late 5-3 deficit for the Ponies resulted in the 6-4 loss. The Ponies did come up with nine hits and just one error, but the Panthers were slightly better with their 11 hits. A key three-run home run was given up to the Panthers in the sixth inning, a crucial turning point late in the contest.
Wagner and McDonald both went 3-for-4 for the Ponies. Wagner also had one RBI and hit a home run in the seventh to lead the offense. Carlson went 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Warren grabbed one hit and two RBIs. Majeres was given the pitching loss for the Ponies.
“Belgrade is just a fantastic team with a lot of young girls and senior leadership,” Wirtzberger said. “We keep on getting better when we play them, and I think if we had to play them tomorrow we might get a different result. But that was Rachel’s (Majeres) fourth game pitching in 20 hours, and she was still throwing strong, but that was about the eighth time Belgrade has seen her throw. And down the stretch they finally figured her timing out a bit and got some hits, but in my mind Rachel was the MVP of the weekend.”
Moving forward, the Ponies will compete at the state softball tournament in Polson. Havre opens against Miles City Thursday at 11 a.m.
Havre 19, Browning 0
Browning 000 00 – 0 1 3
Havre (10)32 4x - 19 14 0
WP – Tori Mazurkiewicz; LP – Kim Higgins
Browning – Padgett 0-2, Boggs 0-0, Kennerly0-2, Higgins 0-1, C. Pree 1-2, W. Pree 0-2, Madden 0-2, Bullchild 0-2, Mitchell 0-0.
Havre – Scout Boucher 2-2 2RBIs, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 3-3 3RBIs, Jordyn Warren 2-3 2RBIs, Tori Mazurkiewicz 3-3 3RBIs, Harlee Boucher 1-3 RBI, Jacey McDonald 2-2 4RBIs, China Bohn 1-3 RBI, Sydne Huston 0-2, Peyton Howard 2-2 RBI.
Belgrade 5, Havre 0
Havre 000 000 0 – 0 0 3
Belgrade 000 212 x – 5 5 2
WP – Kristin West; LP – Rachel Majeres
Havre – Rachel Majeres 0-2, Scout Boucher 0-2, Paige Henderson 0-3, Dani Wagner 0-3, Shaniah Carlson 0-3, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 0-3, Tori Mazurkiewicz 0-3, Harlee Boucher 0-2, Jordyn Warren 0-2.
Belgrade – West 0-2, Newbauer 1-3 RBI, Branch 0-1, Cygan 2-3, Alstrom 1-3, Bethke 0-3, Rollins 0-3, Taylor 0-3, Goulet -2, Salsbury 1-1.
Havre 11, Lewistown 5
Lewistown 000 003 2 - 5 8 3
Havre 001 244 x - 11 14 2
WP – Rachel Majeres; LP – Carley Carpenter
Lewistown- Teale Danell 0-4, Ali Gremaux 0-3, Hannah Weeden 0-1, Maddie Comes 0-1, Cassi Miller 1-4 (2B), Jessica Kindzerski 1-4 (HR), Paige Towne 2-3, Southworth 1-3 (2B), Mikayla Comes 0-2, Shelby Alexander 1-1, Jessica Gapay 2-3.
Havre – Rachel Majeres 2-5, Scout Boucher 1-5, Paige Henderson 3-4 RBI, Dani Wagner 1-4, Shaniah Carlson 1-4 RBI, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 2-4, Tori Mazurkiewicz 2-4 RBI, Jacey McDonald 1-3 RBI, Jordy Warren 1-4 RBI.
Belgrade 6, Havre 4
Havre 030 000 1 - 4 9 1
Belgrade 100 041 X - 6 11 4
WP - J. Taylor; LP - Rachel Majeres.
Havre - Rachel Majeres 0-4, Scout Boucher 0-4, Paige Henderson 0-4, Dani Wagner 3-4 RBI, Jacy MacDonald, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 0-2, Tori Mazurkiewicz 0-3, Shania Carlson 2-4 RBI, Jordy Warren 1-2 2RBIs.
Belgrade - K. West 1-3, S. Newbauer 1-3, R. Cygan 1-4 RBI, K. Bethke 1-3, A. Alstrom 2-3, A. Rollins 1-2 RBI, J. Branch 2-3 3RBIs, J. Taylor 2-3, M. Cade 0-2.