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Ponies hold on to advance to divisional championship

 

Last updated 5/19/2021 at 8:49am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre's Danni Wirtzberger fields a ball against Miles City at Sixth Avenue Memorial Field Tuesday. Wirtzberger and the Blue Ponies defeated Miles City to open the Northeast A divisional tournament. Havre will next play Lewistown for the divisional championship today at Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.

After sweeping Miles City during the regular season, the Havre High softball team looked for their third win over the Cowgirls this season as they began the divisional postseason tournament at Sixth Avenue Memorial Field Tuesday.

The Blue Ponies outscored Miles City 31-0 during the season and looked poised to dominate again after racing out to a 5-0 lead on Tuesday. However, the Cowgirls came back to cut Havre's lead to 6-5 heading to the seventh inning. With runners on base, the Ponies got the final out to secure the win and head to the divisional championship today.

"All that really counts in the end is we survived," said HHS head coach Tony Vigliotti. "We learned some things today, and it will help us going forward."

Havre struck first in the bottom of the first inning when a sacrifice fly from Sam Lovenguth got Avery Carlson home for the 1-0 lead. Later in the inning with bases loaded, Miles City pitcher Anne Marie Hagemeister hit Ellie Collins with an errant pitch to drive in another run.

The Ponies made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third when a groundout from Lizzi Haney got Carlson home for the score. With the bases loaded later in the inning, Miles City hit Lexi Haney and walked Collins to extend Havre's lead to 5-0. However, Havre's offense struggled through the rest of the game, leaving the door open for Miles City.

"It was a struggle offensively for us today," Vigliotti said. "First three innings, their pitcher threw a lot of balls, hit a lot of people so we never got into a rhythm offensively."

Miles City finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth, starting with a double from Kaylee Merical that got a runner home. Abi Dyba then singled to right field to drive in another run. The Cowgirls then scored on a Havre error to cut the Ponies' lead to 5-3.

Havre got an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth when Jocelyn Staples hit an RBI single to make it 6-3. Miles City did not go away as they took advantage of several Pony mistakes to make the score 6-5 in the top of the sixth. Hoping to stay alive, the Cowgirls got two runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh. However, Lexi Haney got Hagemeister to strike out swinging to end the game.

Haney picked up her tenth win of the season in her start. Even though the Ponies gave up five runs, Haney only gave up two earned runs. She finished the day with seven strikeouts and allowed nine hits and two walks. Though the Ponies defense made mistakes that allowed Miles City to get back in the game, she believed they finished strong.

"There's a few things that we can clean up but the energy was really good," Haney said. "We finished it right and that was how it was supposed to be done."

While the Ponies struggled on offense, there were some bright spots. Carlson went four-for-four from the plate and scored three runs in the win. Collins got hit by a pitch and walked to lead the team with two RBIs.

Havre entered divisionals as the tournament's No. 2 seed with a 7-1 conference record. With their win over Miles City to start the postseason, the Ponies have now won eight games in a row and remain undefeated at home.

The Ponies now advance to the divisional championship today where they will face the tournament's No. 1 seed Lewistown. They split against Lewistown this season with the home team winning each game. Despite slow offense and the mistakes they made against Miles City, Vigliotti is confident in his team's ability to compete for a divisional title.

"We matchup well with Lewistown," he said. "We'll just try and go out and be the Blue Ponies and that's pitching well, putting the ball in play and playing defense."

Havre and Lewistown will play for the divisional championship today at 3 p.m. at Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.

Havre 6, Miles City 5

Miles City 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 - 5 9 1

Havre 2 3 0 0 1 0 X - 6 11 5

WP - Lexi Haney

LP - Anne Marie Hagemeister

Havre Batting - Avery Carlson 4-4, Lizzi Haney 0-3, Jocelyn Staples 1-2, Sam Lovenguth 0-3, Quinn McDonald 2-3, Lexi Haney 1-2, Keylee Kline 1-4, Danni Wirtzberger 1-4.

 
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