Boyne City, MI – June 12, 2021 – The Negaunee Miners Softball Team took down the Gladstone Braves to advance to the 2021 Regional Championship Game. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call on Fox Sports Marquette 105.1 and 99.9.
The Miners got an ideal start to the game, as the first three pitches led to three base hits and a run getting across to give the Miners an early advantage. They would keep making contact throughout the inning, as Larissa Anderson hit an RBI single. The Miners would get one more on the board when Mari Speaker stole home on a wild pitch to take a comfortable lead before the side was finally retired. Negaunee’s defense kept the Braves off of the board, and the Miners led 3-0 after the first.
Trying to expand on their early lead, the Miners got two runners on with two outs, but a base runner was thrown out trying to steal third. This kept the game within reach for Gladstone. The Braves got a runner on base by getting hit by a pitch, and they could have scored the runner, but an incredible catch by Negaunee’s Cooper Atkins kept the Braves out of scoring position. The Miners were still on top 3-0.
Once again, the Miners’ batters couldn’t get on the roll they were on in the top of the first. Gladstone’s defense seemed to have gotten the hang of things, as it was a three up and three down inning for the Miners. Although the Braves got a base hit early, they left the runner stranded for the second straight inning. The Miners maintained their 3-0 lead going into the top of the fourth.
The Miners had a stand-up double to begin the fourth. It looked as if they could get some insurance runs, but Gladstone’s defense was able to strand the runner on third. This game started out like it could be an offensive showcase, but the last few innings had both teams putting on defensive clinics. Negaunee pitcher Josie Thompson got two strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth to help keep the Braves off of the board yet again. Negaunee was still up 3-0.
The stalemate of the last few innings finally came to an end in the top of the fifth, as the Miners were able to get a couple more runs on the board. First, Allie Ennett hit a right-field single and stole second, third, and home on a wild pitch to make the game 4-0. Later on, Larissa Anderson got her second RBI hit, but the second runner trying to score on that hit was thrown out to retire the side. Down by five, the Braves needed to respond, but the Negaunee defense continued their dominance and ended the inning without allowing a hit. The Miners had a controlling 5-0 lead going into the sixth inning.
Negaunee couldn’t get anyone on base in the sixth, so Gladstone had another change to cut into the deficit. However, Negaunee pitcher Josie Thompson struck out the side to keep the Braves off of the board. The Miners took a 5-0 lead going into the final inning.
Gladstone prevented the game from getting out of hand by retiring the side quickly in the top of the seventh. Although the Braves stopped Negaunee from opening the flood gates, the Miners were just three outs away from moving on to the regional championship. It would take a huge rally for Gladstone to come back in this one, and it wouldn’t happen. Negaunee shut out the Braves 5-0 to advance to the regional final against Charlevoix at 2pm.