Negaunee, MI – May 23, 2022 – The Negaunee Miners softball team hit the diamond against the visiting Houghton Gremlins in a doubleheader. The Miners’ clinched the West-PAC conference title, and looked to improve on their regular season record on Monday. Mark Evans and Greg Nelson were on the call live from LaCombe Field on Fox Sports Marquette 105.1-99.9!
Josie Thomson was in the circle for Negaunee to start the game. Houghton’s short stop Clea Ollanketo led things off for the Gremlins. The Gremlins went three up and three down in their first at bat. Estella Suomis was in the circle for Houghton with Negaunee’s short stop, Theresa Anderson, at the plate.
Anderson registered a single on the second pitch to lead things off for the Miners. Anderson followed that with stealing second, and Josie Thomson getting walked to first. A dropped ball led to Anderson stealing third giving Negaunee runners on the corners. Lily Nelson got Negaunee on the board with a sacrifice grounder sending Theresa Anderson across home plate. Soumis got out of the side stranding a Negaunee baserunner, but the Miner’s led after one, 1-0.
Josie Thomson opened up the second inning with a strikeout. Houghton then hit into a sharp 6-3 play with a great throw from Theresa Anderson to Kallen Schultz at first. The Gremlins did get their first hit of the game when the pitcher, Estella Suomis, got on base. Reagan Moyle would follow that with a hit to put runners on the corners for Houghton. The Miners would get out of the inning with a big strikeout from Thomson.
Houghton got their first out quickly with a hotshot from Miya Fredrickson down third base. Kallen Schultz followed that with a double to center field. Schultz stole third to put another run 60ft away for Negaunee. Allie Asikainen was able to get a RBI single to give Negaunee a two run advantage. Sam Richards got a huge hit to the fence in left to get herself to second. Theresa Anderson laid a bunt down but Houghton catcher, Mac Ekdahl, made a big play to get another out. Gwen Markham robbed a homer from Josie Thomson to close out the inning.
Thomson stayed in the circle for Negaunee to start the third inning. Lead off hitter, Chloe Morley hit a single deep to the outfield for Houghton. Kenzie Collard added another hit and a baserunner for Houghton. Mac Ekdahl hit a sac fly to bring Morley across home plate for the Gremlin’s first run of the game, and Collard moving over to third. The Miners were able to work their way out of the inning and keep their one run lead.
Lily Nelson went down swinging to led things off in the bottom half of the inning for the Miners. Grace Nardi was just short of a home run, but was able to get a double to get into scoring position with one away. Houghton was able to close out the inning with one runner left on base.
Thomson relied on her defense to register the first out with Miya Fredrickson backing into the outfield to grab a fly ball. Negaunee kept a high pace against the Houghton batters. The Gremlins went three up and three down to start their half of the inning with Thomson striking out one.
Estella Suomis stayed in the circle for Houghton. She forced Schultz to pop it up to record the first out. Sam Richards got on base with two outs after sneaking a hit between second and short. Houghton turned a quick out to close out their half of the inning.
Krista Carello took over pitching duties for Negaunee to start the fifth. Carello pitched to contact forcing the Gremlin hitter into a ground out for the first out. Clea Ollanketo was able to find a gap in the outfield to get on first. Cooper Atkins moved from her spot at third into foul territory to grab another out. Carello forced another ground out to first to close the inning, and hold on to their 2-1 lead.
Josie Thomson led off for the Miners and was walked to first. Lily Nelson layed a bunt down to the circle, Suomis bobbled the ball but was able to get the throw off to first base for the first out. Grace Nardi got a RBI single after a hard hit through the gap between short and second. Ollanketo of Houghton registered the second out after catching a fly foul ball. Miya Fredrickson had a battle of an at bat that ended in a RBI double.
Houghton continued to struggle as they loaded up the bases with two outs. Grace Brunet took over pitching duties for the Gremlins looking to work out of the jam. Brunet walked the Miner batter to bring in another run. A quick ground out from Theresa Anderson turned the side, but the damage was done as Negaunee led 5-1.
Houghton’s pinch hitter Kricia Jenkins led off against Krista Carello to start the inning. Carello struck out the lead off batter, but Brynn Arko stepped in and hit a double to get into scoring position for the Gremlins. Arko moved down to third after a pass ball with Estella Suomis at bat. The Gremlins had runners at the corners after Suomis was walked to first. Suomis moved down to second after another pass ball from Carello. Arko finally made it across home plate after a single from Fayah Zapolnik. Morley hit into a ground out to close out the half.
Estella Suomis took the circle back for Houghton to face off against the Miner’s lead off hitter, Josie Thomson. Thomson opened up with a big single for Negaunee. Senior catcher, Lily Nelson stepped in and smoked a hit down the third base line to put two on with no outs. Gwen Markham for Houghton made a big play in center field for the out, and threw it in for the assist for another out at second. Suomis was able to get out of the inning without allowing any extra runs.
Houghton’s last chance at bat saw the top of the order lead things off. Ollanekto blooped a single to give the Gremlins hope. Collard hit a grounder to short who took the easy out at second, leaving Collard at first on the fielder’s choice. Negaunee’s Carello continued to rely on her defense as they picked up another grounder for the second out. Carello did finish the game on her terms as she struck out the final batter to end the game.
FINAL: Negaunee 5 – Houghton 2