Negaunee, MI – May 26, 2021 – The Negaunee Miners Baseball Team defended their home field against the Houghton Gremlins 8-7. Travis Nelson had the call on Fox Sports Marquette 105.1 and 99.9.
The first inning was uneventful for both teams offensively. The Gremlins’ first three batters were all out on ground balls. The Miners couldn’t get anything going either. Apart from the lead-off hitter getting walked, Houghton’s defense kept the Miners at bay. It remained scoreless after the first.
The Miners’ fielding continued to be strong in the second. The first inning had three straight ground outs, this inning had three straight fly outs to stop Houghton from getting on the board. It looked like Negaunee would be able to take advantage, as they got two runners on base with only one out, but Houghton’s pitcher struck out the side to keep the game at 0-0.
Negaunee’s defense stayed on a roll in the third inning. Despite having no strikeouts, the Miners allowed no base runners after facing the entire Gremlin batting rotation. This time, the Miners would capitalize. With one out and a runner on third, pitcher Hunter Haanpaa hit a sacrifice fly to give the Miners the early 1-0 lead.
After two quick outs, the Gremlins finally got their first hit of the game. A triple put them in scoring position with two outs, but yet another fly out left the runner stranding and kept Houghton off the board. Negaunee got some breathing room in the bottom of the fourth. Gerald Johnson batted in a much needed insurance run with an RBI double to put the Miners on top 2-0.
The Gremlins had a chance to not only get on the board, but also take the lead this inning. Houghton batters loaded the bases with only one out, so it looked like they would do some damage. However, the Miners’ defense stayed strong and got two straight fly outs to leave all three runners stranded and hold on to their lead. Negaunee found success on offense as well. A two RBI double by Evan Gauthier put Negaunee ahead 4-0.
Negaunee would need the insurance runs they got earlier, as Houghton made a spirited comeback rally in the top of the sixth. RBI hits, as well as an impressive two-RBI single tied the game up for the Gremlins. Just like that, the Miners were in a tough spot, but they would quickly answer when Haanpaa batted in another run to take back the control of the game. Negaunee had a slim 5-4 advantage going into the final inning.
Down one, the Gremlins needed a run to stay alive. They would get the job done, as three runs went across in the top of the seventh to put Houghton on top for the first time this evening. A balk rule scored the tying run, and an RBI and sacrifice fly put two more points on the board and gave Houghton a solid 7-5 lead. Now, the pressure was on the Gremlins’ defense to finish the game. However, Houghton’s closing pitchers struggled. Negaunee loaded the bases with no outs, and a walk brought one across to cut into the deficit. Immediately after, an RBI single by lead-off hitter Gerald Johnson tied the game up and left the bases loaded with no outs. Finally, the Miners completed the rally when Howard Johnson walked off in an incredible way, getting hit by a pitch. With that, the Miners won 8-7 in this nail-biting contest.
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners host the Iron Mountain Mountaineers Tuesday, June 1st. Tune in for the Elder Agency Pregame Show with Travis Nelson at 3:45pm on Fox Sports Marquette 105.1 and 99.9.