Havre Daily News Sports Editor
There is no way the Havre High fast-pitch softball team can play tougher competition than it has played in the past few weeks - unless the Ponies take on the Boston Red Sox.
Fortunately, the Ponies aren't facing the Red Sox, the defending state champion Polson Pirates or even powerhouses Whitefish, Libby or Hamilton.
Instead, the Ponies will hit the road to face the Class B Conrad Cowgirls on Saturday. The Browning game set for today has been postponed until next Friday because of snow.
"I definitely think the toughest part of our schedule is behind us," said HHS head coach Bob Evans. "We had a few weeks of seeing the toughest teams we'll see all season. I think about 90 percent of our remaining games are against teams that we should be able to compete with."
Havre will be without one of its key players for the weekend. Senior Kelsey Evans will miss all four games because of a prior school commitment, leaving Havre without its shortstop and its No. 2 pitcher.
"Not having Kelsey will be tough," Evans admitted. "She anchors our defense at shortstop. But we've been working with Whitney Barnekoff and she's been doing well. She's my utility player."
While Evans' absence in the field will be big, her absence on the mound is also big. Senior Kristin Evanson will be forced to pretty much pitch every inning this weekend.
"Kristin can do it," Evans said. "She's been getting stronger every week. And I think she'll be fine."
Evans isn't quite sure what to expect from the Conrad Cowgirls.
"I know they've had their program a lot longer than we've had ours," he said. "I think they're one of the better Class B schools in the state."
Conrad did qualify for last year's Class B state tournament and returns several players from that team.
"I think they'll be pretty good," Evans said. "But we should be able to play with them."
Havre spent the week continuing to work on hitting and building strength, while adding to its fielding routine. The foundation Evans hoped to build is allowing him to add more things with each practice. It's something that has his girls excited about this weekend.
"The girls are pretty confident," Evans said. "They know these are teams we can play with and beat, if we just play well."