Houghton, MI – June 4, 2021 – The Negaunee Miners Softball Team took home the 2021 District Championship with a 6-1 win over the Westwood Patriots. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call on Fox Sports Marquette 105.1 and 99.9.
Just like in the previous game, Negaunee had a solid start. With runners on second and third and two outs, Lilly Nelson had a double into the outfield that brought both runners across and gave Negaunee an early two-run advantage. The Patriots were unable to respond in the bottom of the inning, as they were left off of the board with only one hit. Negaunee had a 2-0 lead after the first.
Negaunee’s momentum continued into the second inning, as Josie Thompson batted in another run. Negaunee would leave two runners on when Westwood retired the side, but the extra run put some pressure on the Patriots’ hitters. Negaunee’s defense once again controlled the pace in the bottom of the inning. Westwood still couldn’t get into scoring position, as the Miners took a 3-0 lead into the third.
Although Negaunee hasn’t had a huge inning, they’ve steadily built on their lead each time they went to bat. In the top of the third, it was Morgan Carlson who stole third, and then got across the plate on an infielder’s choice to make it a 4-0 game. This time, Westwood was able to answer. A shot by Natalie Prophet into the outfield turned into an RBI triple to finally get the Patriots on the board. It could have been worse for the Miners, but some more impressive fielding left the runner on third stranded. Negaunee held on to a 4-1 lead.
Westwood attempted to shift momentum after their run in the bottom of the third, and it was looking good when Negaunee went three up and three down. It was up to the Patriots’ offense to cut into the deficit. However, Josie Thompson recorded two straight strikeouts with a runner on second to keep Westwood at bay. Thompson had an incredible performance in this game, recording eight strikeouts up to this point. The Miners maintained their 4-1 lead going into the fifth inning.
Negaunee got some good contact in the top of the fifth. Two straight singles and a sacrifice bunt to get the runners in scoring position made it look like Negaunee would open the flood gates. One run got across with an RBI by Grace Nardi, but an amazing catch and throw to tag out the runner by Megan Marta of Westood kept the Patriots in the game. Yet once again, they couldn’t capitalize. Three straight fly-outs kept Negaunee’s lead at 5-1 going into the sixth.
The Miners’ hitting streak ended in the sixth inning, as three quick outs for the first three Negaunee batters gave Westwood a chance to get back in the game. In the bottom of the inning, Josie Thompson was once again dominant on the mound for Negaunee. She recorded her ninth and tenth strikeouts of the game in this inning to keep the Miners up 5-1 with three outs away from a championship.
The Miners went into the top of the seventh hoping to get some insurance. They got that with a sacrifice fly by Lilly Nelson, which gave the Miners a comfortable lead going into the home stretch. In the bottom of the seventh, Thompson continued her outstanding championship-game performance by retiring the side herself, finishing the night with an amazing thirteen strikeouts. The Miners got the 6-1 victory to win the district championship and move on to the regional playoffs.
NEXT GAME: TBA