Havre Daily News sports editor
Wednesday night at Legion Field in Havre was a classic case of big brother keeping little brother down. Or maybe it was big brother teaching little brother a valuable lesson.
Whatever the cliche may be, the Havre Northstars proved yet again that they are the superior American Legion baseball team in Havre by thumping the Havre Comets 10-4 in a Northern District legion baseball game.
The Northstars ripped Comet pitching to the tune of 14 hits, and they took advantage of four Comets errors in the field en route to the nine-inning victory. The Northstars also rode six solid innings of work by veteran pitcher John Christian.
Christian earned the victory by scattering six hits while giving up just two runs and striking out four. Scott Ladenburg came in to close the game out, and he picked up three strikeouts in three innings of relief.
On the flip side, Comets' starter Andrew Lindquist got off to a shaky start Wednesday night, as the Northstars scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning. In five-plus innings, Lindquist was touched for six runs, all of them earned, and six hits.
The Northstars started their run barrage in the opening inning with walks by Sean Peterson and Austin Small. Later, Bryan Heath and Tanner Donovan smacked back-to-back two-run doubles to put the Northstars out in front 4-0. The first-inning score would be more than enough of a cushion for Christian.
“Andrew got off to a rough start in the first inning,” Comets head coach Steve Fanning said. “He didn't have very good control early and that led to a big inning.
“But then I thought he settled down,” Fanning added. “And he was able to pitch pretty well from that point on.”
The Comets did manage to rebound in the top of the second inning with one run. But the Northstars tacked on another run in the bottom of the third and three more in the bottom of the sixth inning to lead 8-2 heading into the seventh-inning stretch.
The Northstars' hit parade continued in the seventh inning when they scored two more runs to lead 10-2. Those runs came off some suspect Comet defense behind reliever Seth Jensen.
The Comets were able to rally in the top of the ninth inning when Todd Roe and Kyle Surber scored to pull the Comets to within six runs at 10-4, before Ladenburg closed out the game.
“The big reason why we lost is because we left a lot of runners on base,” Fanning said. “We had chances in almost every single inning, but we didn't get the clutch hits when we needed them, and we weren't able to get any breaks either.
“But I am not disappointed with how we played,” Fanning added. “Because the Northstars are probably the best team in our conference and we only lost to them by six runs.”
At the plate, the Northstars were led by Peterson and Donovan, both of whom had two hits and two RBIs. Donovan also scored two runs on the night. Josh Lowe, Bryan Heath, Anthony Wirtzberger, Josh Morse and Christian also had two hits each for the Northstars.
The Comets got two hits apiece from Logan Reichelt and Scott Vigliotti and Reichelt also drove in a run. Robert The Boy and Surber added RBIs as well.
With the win, the Northstars got back to .500 on the young season at 4-4 overall. They also are off to a perfect 3-0 start in conference play. The Comets fell to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in conference.
The Northstars will be back in action Sunday afternoon when they host the Great Falls Sparkies in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at Legion Field in Havre.
Northstars 10, Comets 4
Comets 010 010 002 - 4 7 4
Northstars 401 003 20x - 10 14 3
Comets - Logan Reichelt 2-4, Josh Haas 0-5, Ryan Callahan 1-5, Seth Jensen 0-1, Toss Roe 1-4, Jeremy Jensen 0-2, Marshall Cartwright 1-3, Scott Vigliotti 0-3, Nick Nault 0-1, Spencer Ivers 0-1, Robert The Boy 0-2, Kyle Surber 1-3.
Northstars - Sean Peterson 2-4, Austin Small 0-4, Josh Lowe 2-4, Chase Castloo 0-3, Bryan Heath 1-4, Tanner Donovan 2-5, Anthony Wirtzberger 0-5, Josh Morse 1-4, Jeremiah Moog 0-2, John Christian 0-2, Jess McLain 0-2.
WP - John Christian, LP - Andrew Lindquist.