Panthers power past Ponies


April 22, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High's Sam Oliver picks up a grounder during last Friday's doubleheader with the Belgrade Panthers at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field. The Panthers swept the Ponies. Havre is back home today to square off against Lewistown.

The Havre High softball team played host to Belgrade in one last Central A doubleheader between the two rivals last Friday at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field and even though the Blue Ponies didn't come away with any victories, according to head coach Tony Vigliotti, they still improved.

"That's a state championship team," Vigliotti said after the Ponies were defeated 11-6 and 9-0 last Friday afternoon. "I know it may not seem like it on the scoreboard, but we got better today. We played a lot better than we did against Lewistown (20-10 loss last Thursday). We hit the ball better; we played better defensively and I think we got better. I was pretty pleased overall."

In the first game between the two teams, the Panthers didn't pitch their ace, Erin Elgas and facing the Panthers No. 2 arm, the Ponies scored two runs in the first and second innings to build a 4-0 lead.

After three innings, with Sam Oliver on the mound, the Ponies were in front 6-3, however, Belgrade scored six runs in the fourth inning, then one each in the top of the sixth and seventh innings to come away with the win. Olivia Cook notched two hits and four RBIs in the win for the Panthers, while Havre was led by Jera Verploegen's two RBIs in a strong offensive effort for Havre that included 12 hits. Oliver got the loss after allowing 11 hits and 11 runs and Kayleigh Baurele got the win. She finished with eight strikeouts - Oliver had six in defeat.

"We put the ball in play and we made the plays that we were supposed to make," Vigliotti said. "There is no use in hanging our heads. Those are the two-time defending state champions and we were right there."

In the second half of the double dip, Elgas controlled things from start to finish as he held the Ponies to five hits in a complete-game shutout that included eight strikeouts. Lauren Kato was on the hill for HHS and he struck out five batters in the loss. She allowed 14 hits in six innings of work but never gave up the big inning as Belgrade got three in the bottom of the first, followed by two in the second, two in the third and two more in the fifth. Havre loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, trying to start a rally, but was unable to get any runs home.

Kenna Thomas was a force at the plate in the win for Belgrade with four hits and four RBIs. Cook also added to her strong day at the plate with two more hits and two more runs batted in. Sydney Wilting notched a double in the loss while Verploegen also got on base twice by drawing walks.

"We did have some opportunities," Vigliotti said. "And that's a state championship pitcher. We got some hits and I was pleased, much more than I was Thursday. I think the girls would agree."

The loss dropped Havre to 2-7 overall on the season and 0-3 in the Central A conference, yet the Ponies still have three conference games to play, starting with a matchup against Lewistown tonight. First pitch will be is set for 4 at the Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.

"Hopefully, we get some confidence," Vigliotti said. "I know it's tough to say that after you lose three games in a row but we played much better against Belgrade. We are hitting the ball better and we are going to score some runs, we just have to play defense."

Belgrade 11, Havre 6

Belgrade 003 601 1 - 11 11 2

Havre 222 000 0 - 6 12 0

WP - Kayleigh Baurele

LP - Sam Oliver

Belgrade 9, Havre 0

Havre 000 000 0 - 0 5 2

Belgrade 322 020 x - 9 14 0

WP - Erin Elgas

LP - Lauren Kato

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Katelyn Maloughney bats during Friday's games against Belgrade in Havre.


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