By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Legion field turned from dark rust-colored muck to light tan dirt as the Havre Baseball Jamboree fought wind and rain all weekend to conclude on Sunday with the Havre Northstars dropping a game to Buhl, Idaho, and ending in a tie in two other games.
On a soggy field and in sticky gumbo, the Northstars and the Anaconda As closed the first night in a 3-3 tie on Friday.
Havre started strong, opening the game with two runs on two hits. Steve Fanning opened the batting sequence with a walk to first base. After Josh Lybecker struck out, pitcher Jake Ingram knocked a single into centerfield, sending Fanning to second.
As pitcher Jonathan Clark threw a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance, threatening in scoring position. Mike Holden flew out to right field with runners going; Fanning scored when As catcher Tony Scharf dropped the throw at home.
Bryan Thompson then walked to first and when Mace Mangold spiked a high fly ball between three As fielders, Ingram scored. Thompson followed closely, but was thrown out at the plate.
After allowing only four Anaconda batters, Havre entered the second inning with Ricky Brown lacing a single over the first baseman's head. Ryan Evans hit a sacrifice bunt down the first base line that advanced Brown.
AnacondAs Scharf dropped a foul tip allowing David Heberly to advance to first while Brown threatened at third. Fanning sliced a single between the first and second basement, notching an RBI as Brown scored. Lybeck grounded out to end the at--bat.
But the third inning proved to be the game-maker for the As. On his second at-bat, second baseman Sam Buck sparked the As when he notched the first team hit of the game. Buck advanced to second when Dale Pearson walked to first. Then, on a 1-1 pitch, As pitcher Jonathan Clark sailed a three-run homer over the left centerfield wall, evening the game, 3-3. Neither team would score again.
At the top of the fourth, Alan Mapes took the pitching command for the Northstars. Mapes went on to strike out four batters in three innings. Clark continued to pitch for the As and finished with six strikeouts.
We struck out way too many times, said head coach Mickey Williams. The Northstars spent most of the morning swamping water off the field to prepare it for the day's play. Not to make excuses, but we were pretty tired, Williams added.
With dark settling onto the field, the game was called. Clark, with his three-run homer was awarded player of the game.
In a game that was undecided until the top of the seventh inning, the Havre Northstars fell to the Buhl, Idaho, Indians 4-3 at Legion field on Saturday.
The Indians scored first and fast in the match-up with the first three batters getting on base. Buhl's catcher Cory Hamilton and Brad Ross each nailed singles while pitcher Aric Reynolds reached base on balls. Both Reynolds and Hamilton scored on Ross' drive into short center field.
"Josh (Lybecker) did a great job pitching, but we had way too many walks; they all scored," said Williams. Those "too many walks" totaled only two for Lybecker by the end of the game, but they were free bases that equaled two runs for the Indians. Lybecker also finished with five strike outs. Two of those strike outs seated the last two first inning batters.
Both teams were silent until Buhl scored again in the top of the fifth inning. Adam Reynolds reached base on balls and was followed by Chris Flynn who, with only one out, dropped a shot into center field. A Northstar error at second base allowed Flynn to advance to third base, while Reynolds scored for the orange Idaho team. The last two batters grounded out.
But the Northstars had seen enough. In the bottom of the fifth, seven Northstar batters stepped to the plate and had evened the score before they were finished.
Brown, Jarrod Wirt and Thompson, the first three batters of the inning, each laced doubles. Wirt collected an RBI when he nailed a shot into right field, scoring Brown. Thompson kept the inning going when he pounded the panels on the center field wall, bouncing a bomb off the 378-foot sign. Wirt scored on the blast.
Two outs later, Nate Baltrusch dropped a shot into short center field, scoring Thompson. Baltrusch was left stranded to end the inning.
Both teams left two runners on base in the sixth inning, while mental toughness became the deciding factor in the game with the Northstars committing two errors in the top of the seventh.
Mental errors on the bases was the main factor as to why we lost, said Williams. We had a lot of strike outs, but so did they.
In the seventh, Lybeck snagged a chopper to throw out the first batter of the inning. Then, Buhl center fielder Chris Flynn drove a bullet to third base. Havres Holden knocked it down, but couldnt hold on to it as Flynn reached base. Then, with a runner on first, Lybeck snagged a bunt and tagged the batter while Flynn advanced to second.
Next, with two outs, Buhls Hamilton stepped up and nailed a hit to second. The Northstars' Baltrusch overthrew first base while Flynn scored for Buhl. Aric Reynolds grounded out to end the inning.
The Northstars managed only one hit in the bottom of the seventh, a looper by Baltrusch into right center field, but was left stranded on first to end the game.
Sunday evening saw stronger winds and darkening clouds, as did the Havre Northstars, as they closed the Havre Baseball Jamboree at Legion field.
The problem was, however, the strength came from opponent Glasgow, as they overcame a seven-point deficit to tie the game at 11 in the bottom of the seventh innning. The game was then called due to darkness.
We played the worst baseball we've played in three years, said Williams.
Havre took command in the third inning scoring nine runs and going through the entire batting order and then some. With only one out, Fanning, Wirt and Baltrusch had back-to-back doubles and each tallied an RBI. Ingram popped out to right field but Mapes followed with a double to left field. He was left stranded on second. The Northstars tore open the game with a 10-3 lead.
They would not score again until the top of the seventh inning, but Glasgow had already rallied for one run in the fourth inning, two runs in the fifth inning and three runs in the sixth inning. They had cut the Northstar lead to only one run in the bottom of the sixth.
But in the top of the seventh, Lybecker opened with a chopper into center field. Thompson followed suit, knocking a double into center field, scoring Lybecker.
Then the Northstar sky got a little darker. Thompson advanced to third on a wild pitch. Wirt then struck out giving the Northstars their first out of the inning. Baltrush bounced a single to the pitcher, beating the throw to the base. With one out and runners on first and third, Heberly hit a grounder to second.
Baltrusch, who was out on the force at second, slid into the second baseman. The umpire called another, saying Baltrusch intentionally slid into the baseman. The Northstars stranded a runner in scoring position.
In the bottom of the seventh, Glasgow, with two outs, lit up the outfield with a single to right field and a triple to the right field wall that scored two runs. They evened the score at 11 with the final batter striking out. The umpires ended the Northstar demise calling the game due to the onset of darkness.