by Ryan Divish
Havre Daily News Sports Editor
The Havre High girls fast-pitch softball team's introduction into the world of MHSA softball was a rough one.
The Ponies dropped their opening games of the season against the Whitefish Bulldogs in Whitefish.
Behind the hitting of Alana and Kiliani Morris and the pitching of Makayla Peck and Desiree Drake, the Bulldogs rolled to wins of 15-1 and 16-1, both in five innings.
Havre was plagued with some early errors and miscues that head coach Bob Evans knew would be a possibility.
"We made some early mistakes," Evans said. "These games gave us the opportunity to see where we are at as a team and where we need to be. Whitefish is as good of a team as we'll face this season. They do a lot of the little things that you need to be successful. Our girls saw that and I think they will learn from it."
In the opening game, Whitefish jumped out to an early lead, scoring six runs in the first inning. Alana Morris opened with ground rule double thanks to a gusty tailwind. That early misfortune, coupled with a couple of Havre miscues, snowballed to the early lead.
"That was tough," Evans said. "To start the game off like that when it could've easily been an out."
From there, the Bulldogs poured it on offensively, scoring runs in every inning and banging out 12 hits off starter Kristin Evanson.
Despite walking 10 batters, Peck still held the Ponies hitless in the game and surrendered an unearned run. Havre wasn't without scoring opportunities with all the free bases, but just couldn't get the timely hit.
"We left 12 runners on base in that first game and at least five of them at third base," Evans said. "We couldn't get the hits when we needed them."
In the nightcap, Havre was once again plagued by a rough start, as Whitefish steamrolled to 11 runs in the first inning off of starter Whitney Barnekoff. It was just too much of a deficit for the Ponies to overcome. Havre did score a run and get hits from Kelsey Evans and Casey Benner.
Although it wasn't exactly what Evans had hoped for, he saw plenty of positives.
"I thought we would be a little more competitive," Evans said. "We just couldn't find a way to get out of those big innings. But I'm confident that the girls are getting better every time they step on the field. They had fun out there and I don't see it getting them down."
Havre will host Livingston and Browning in a pair of games starting at 1 p.m. Saturday at Sixth Avenue Memorial Field.