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Northstars rally for a split of Northern A home games against Royals, Knights

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre's Tony Antley fires a pitch during a Northern A District doubleheader between the Northstars and Fort Macleod Royals Saturday at Legion Field. The Northstars split with the Royals Saturday, then, thanks to a dramatic comeback in the second game, also split with the Medidne Hat Knights Sunday afternoon. The Northstars will remain at home this weekend to host their annual Havre Jamboree. The tournament runs Friday through Sunday at Legion Field.

After already losing once to Medicine Hat, a two-game sweep by the Knights seemed inevitable, especially with a 9-2 lead over the Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team headed to the bottom of the seventh inning in the second game between the two teams Sunday afternoon.

Another loss for the Northstars would have meant three in a row during their four-game home stand at Legion Field over the weekend against Fort Maceod and Medicine Hat. Havre split with the Royals Saturday, winning 2-1 and losing 6-3. Havre also lost the first game Sunday 8-4 and was three outs away from being swept.

Then, suddenly, everything changed. Havre opened the inning by getting a break, as Ethan Roberts reached base safely when a Medicine Hat outfielder dropped a certain out. Following a base knock by Quinn Reno, Roberts scored and it was 9-3. Tyrel Kjersem and Ethan Carlson kept the run going with a walk and a base hit.

That set things up for Hunter Lovenguth who ripped a ball to left for a single, which scored both Reno and Kjersem, making the score 9-5. Carson Lunak singled to score another run. Kennedy McKay brought in a run when he was hit by a pitch and Roberts did the same when he drew another walk.

That set the stage for some late-game heroics. Reno, who helped start the rally came to the plate with the bases loaded but he struck out, getting Medicine Hat within one out of victory. That brought Eli Cloninger to the plate for the second time in the inning. In his first at-bat, he flew out to center but this time around, Cloninger got his revenge, pulling the ball down the left-field line, for a walk-off double that scored Caden Jenkins and McKay for the winning run.

"I think the big thing is that we kept a positive attitude," Northstars head coach Patch Wirtzberger said. "They were encouraging each other going into that last inning, and we were able to get some things going. There was so much that happened, it's kind of hard to keep straight. I am just glad that we hung in there and never gave up. I think that was the key."

The win improved the Northstars record to 6-4 overall on the season and 4-2 in the district, as well as 2-2 during the four games at Legion Saturday and Sunday.

"It was big to get this win," Wirtzberger said. "Getting at least a split was huge. We could have done better, but it could have been worse. Now we will just go back and look at what we need to do to improve."

While Cloninger came up with the winning hit, he also got the win on the mound as he came on in relief of starter Trenton Maloughney. Cloninger pitched just over three innings and allowed just one run on two hits in addition to notching four strikeouts. He was also 1-of-2 at the plate with two RBIs. Hunter Lovenguth also added a hit and a pair of RBIs. Reno notched three hits in the win for the Northstars; Roberts had two and scored three times. Tony Antley, Kjersem, Carlson, Jenkins, Lunak and McKay each contributed to the win with a hit.

In the first game between the two teams, Medicine Hat was able to overcome four errors and scored eight runs on eight hits to beat the Northstars, who finished with nine hits but stranded 11 runners in an 8-4 defeat. Kjersem was given the loss after pitching just over four innings, allowing seven hits and eight runs. Reno had another solid outing at the plate, getting two hits and two RBIs. Antley also pitched in with two hits.

Saturday, the Northstars took on Northern A rival Fort Macleod in the first two games of the four-game home stand and Havre came out on top in what ended up as a pitcher's duel. Antley, one of the veterans on the team, was outstanding on the mound, coming one out short of a complete-game victory. In six and two-thirds innings, Antley allowed seven hits and just two runs. He also struck out and walked only three. He also got two key hits which helped lead to the tying run in the bottom of the third and a two-run inning in the bottom of the fifth. Roberts scored twice on two walks and Kjersem joined Antley with two hits in the win.

In the nightcap against Fort Macleod, the Northstars sent another veteran pitcher to the mound in McKay, but the Royals got to him to the tune of seven hits and two runs. He left when the score was 3-3 and in the sixth and seventh, Lunak allowed three runs on hits to end up getting the loss.

Havre, which managed just five hits compared to the 11 registered by the Royals, threatened in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. Yet, the comeback wasn't meant to be and the Royals escaped with the 6-3 win.

Colby Snider got the win for the Royals after allowing just five hits and three runs in over six innings of work. Snider also came through at the plate with two hits and two RBIs. Roberts, Kjersem, McKay, Carlson and Maloughney all added hits in the loss.

Havre (6-4) will be off until Friday when it will host the Havre Jamboree Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Legion Field.

Havre 3, Fort Macleod 2

Fort MacLeod 000 200 0 - 2 7 2

Havre 001 020 x - 3 5 3

WP - Tony Antley

LP - Josh Conley

Havre - Ethan Roberts 0-2, Quinn Reno 0-2, Tony Antley 2-2, Kennedy McKay 0-2, Hunter Lovenguth, Tyrel Kjersem 2-3, Eli Cloninger 1-3, Caden Jenkins 0-3, Carson Lunak 0-3.

Fort Macleod 6, Havre 3

Fort MacLeod 001 111 2 - 6 11 2

Havre 000 200 0 - 3 5 1

WP - Colby Snider

LP - Carson Lunak

Havre - Ethan Roberts 1-2, Quinn Reno 0-3, Tony Antley 0-3, Tyrel Kjersem 1-3, Kennedy McKay 1-3, Hunter Lovenguth 0-3, Eli Cloninger 0-2, Caden Jenkins 0-2, Ethan Carlson 1-1, Trenton Maloughney 1-3.

Medicine Hat 8, Havre 4

Medicine Hat 000 350 0 - 8 8 4

Havre 101 200 0 - 4 9 0

WP - Kobe Coderre

LP - Tyrel Kjersem

Havre - Ethan Roberts 1-3, Quinn Reno 2-4, Tony Antley 2-3, Tyrel Kjersem 1-3, Hunter Lovenguth 0-2, Kennedy McKay 1-4, Eli Cloninger 1-2, Trenton Maloughney 0-4, Carson Lunak 0-3, Ethan Carlons 0-1, Caden Jenkins 1-2.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Tyrel Kjersem fields a ball during Saturday's American Legion baseball game at Legion Field.

Northstars 10, Medicine Hat 9

Medicine Hat 102 400 2 - 9 10 2

Havre 001 010 8 - 10 13 4

WP - Eli Cloninger

LP - Cole Rath

Havre - Ethan Roberts 2-4, Quinn Reno 3-5, Tony Antley 1-2, Eli Cloninger, Tyrel Kjersem 1-3, Ethan Carlson 1-4, Hunter Lovenguth 1-3, Caden Jenkins 1-2, Carson Lunak 1-4, Kennedy McKay 1-4.

 

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