One last time at Legion


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Pictured above are the six Havre Northstars who will play their final home games Saturday at Legion Field in a doubleheader against Vauxhall. The first pitch will go out at 3 p.m. If Havre wins both games, the team could move as a high as second place in the final Northern A District standings.

The Havre Northstars American Legion baseball team went on the road Wednesday and while the club missed a shot at a two-game sweep of rival Lewistown, Havre did what it needed, earning a split and keeping its hopes alive for second place in the Northern A District.

Both teams entered Wednesday's doubleheader in Lewistown with identical 11-9 records within the district. A sweep would have put the Northstars only two games behind the Redbirds with just two to go. Thanks to a brilliant pitching performance from Kennedy McKay, Havre won the first game 7-0, before dropping the second 5-1.

In addition to McKay's strong performance on the mound, in which he allowed just five hits and struck out three while walking only one, Havre played perfect defense behind him and didn't commit a single error. Trenton Maloughney also pitched in with two hits and two RBIs, while Austin Delarosa and Ethan Roberts also managed two hits of their own, as well as an RBI in the victory. With some hot bats early, Havre was in front 6-0 after the top of the third inning and from there, McKay and the defense did the rest.

"The first win was good to get," Northstars head coach Patch Wirtzberger said. "Kennedy pitched well and the defense played really well behind him. We got up early and finished strong. It was a good complete game from the team."

In the second game, Havre grabbed an early 1-0 lead and with Tony Antley on the mound, the Northstars were in a good position to try and sweep the Redbirds. However, the veteran hurler was forced to leave the game and that seemed to stymie Havre's momentum. Lewistown was able to grab the lead and then brought on star pitcher Ben Kolar to close it out in the seventh.

"The second game was a bummer," Wirtzberger said. "We were right there. Tony's shoulder got tight and he had to come out. Carson and Eli did a good job, but we just couldn't hold them."

The Northstars, who are now 22-17 overall and 12-10 in district play, will close out the regular season Saturday against Vauxhall. Havre will host the first-place Spurs at Legion Field with the first pitch set for 3 p.m. According to Wirtzberger, if the Northstars win both games, they should have a good shot at the two spot in the final standings. Otherwise, Havre is looking at being either the third or fourth seed at the district tournament in Medicine Hat next week.

"Yeah, I think the worst we can do is fourth," Wirtzberger said. "If we sweep (Vauxhall) we would be second. If we split could be third or fourth."

If Lewistown and Havre wind up tied in the final standings, the Redbirds would likely earn the tiebreaker with a better run differential over the four games against the Northstars this season.

Regardless, as long as the Northstars win at least one game against Vauxhall, they would be a top-four seed in the district tournament, along with earning a winning record in conference play. In order to achieve that, Wirtzberger will be sending senior Austin Delarosa to the mound, as well as Tyrel Kjersem, who won in his last start.

For Delarosa, who will be among five Northstars playing their final home game Saturday, it will be his seventh start of the season and 13th appearance on the mound as a whole. He boasts a 3-2 record along with an ERA of 6.23, although he has a WHIP of 1.79, which is second-best on the team, trailing only fellow senior McKay, who is now 3-2 in eight starts with an ERA of 3.8 and a team-high 38 strikeouts. Kjersem, who is 5-1 as a starter, has an ERA of over six and has 33 strikeouts to his credit, which is tied for second on the team with Antley, another senior.

Delarosa, Antley, McKay, Ethan Roberts, Hunter Lovenguth and Kelden Sullivan will all be honored in their final double dip at Legion Field. Roberts has been sensational as a leadoff hitter with Havre, batting .445 and getting on base at a .572 clip. He also leads the team in runs (60) stolen bases (37) and walks drawn (29), while also being fifth in RBIs with 15.

Antley has also been a key presence at the plate, batting .314 to go along with 27 RBIs and 29 runs scored. Antley has also been solid on the mound for Havre, too. He leads the Northstars in innings pitched with 49 and has a team-high 11 starts. He also has a 5-2 record with an ERA of 6.2. His five decisions tie him with Kjersem for the team lead.

McKay also has started to swing the bat well down the stretch, and he is hitting .309 coming into the final weekend of the regular season. He also has 17 RBIs and 28 runs scored. Sullivan and Lovenguth have also been solid contributors at the plate, in the field and even at times, on the mound.

"Hopefully we can put on a good showing for the seniors Saturday," Wirtzberger said. "These are two big games."

After paying a visit to Havre, Vauxhall will head to Lewistown Sunday to close out the regular season for both the Spurs and the Redbirds. The results from Saturday and Sunday will determine where Havre ends up seeded in the Northern A District tournament. That is set to begin Thursday in Medicine Hat. The first pitch Saturday at Legion will go out at 3 p.m.

Havre 7, Lewistown 0

Havre 123 010 0 - 7 9 0

Lewistown 000 000 0 - 0 5 3

WP - Kennedy McKay

LP - Xander Flick

Havre - Ethan Roberts 2-4, Trenton Maloughney 2-3, Quinn Reno 1-4, Austin Delarosa 2-4, Caden Jenkins 1-4, Tony Antley 1-4, Hunter Lovenguth 0-4, Ethan Carlson 0-3, Eli Cloninger 0-3.

Lewistown 5, Havre 1

Havre 000 100 0 - 1 4 3

Lewistown 000 032 x - 5 6 1

WP - Cody Henderson

LP Carson Lunak

Havre - Ethan Roberts 1-3, Trenton Maloughney 0-3, Quinn Reno 1-3, Austin Delarosa 1-2, Kennedy McKay 0-3, Caden Jenkins 0-2, Kelden Sullivan 1-3, Tyrel Kjersem 0-3, Eli Cloninger 0-3.


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