HANCOCK - Saturday, Keweenaw knocked Portage Lake into the elimination bracket of the District 11 Junior (age 13-14) All-Star tournament.
Monday, Portage Lake hit back - and kept hitting.
Portage Lake advanced to tonight's championship game by drubbing its rivals 24-1 in five innings at Hancock Driving Park.
Portage Lake’s Anthony McCloskey, front, and Caleb Carlson score on Hans Stimac’s double in the third inning of Monday’s Junior (age 13-14)?All-Star elimination game against Keweenaw at Hancock Driving Park. Keweenaw catcher Robbie Erkkila looks on. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
That sets up a meeting with Ishpeming tonight at 5:30.
"We had to be aggressive at the plate and our bats had to be here," PL manager Mike Jurmu said.
After a pair of outs to start the first inning, Portage Lake's bats arrived with a vengeance. Justin Ruotsala tripled to open the account and was one of three hits (plus an error and a walk) leading to a four-run frame.
Keweenaw put up one run in the bottom of the inning on Jack Hyrkas's RBI single, but Portage Lake responded with six runs in the second with five hits, two walks and an error, essentially ending it.
Monday's winning pitcher was Alan Jurmu, who went 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Sam Kariniemi and Robbie Erkkila had two hits apiece for Keweenaw.
Four Portage Lake players recorded three-hit days: Ruotsala, who finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Jurmu, who had three singles, Cole Jepsen, 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Caleb Carlson, who went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs. Portage Lake finished with a total of 18 hits.
Tonight, Portage Lake expects a tremendous pitching challenge, possibly from Ishpeming's lanky Austin Corp.
"One thing Ishpeming's going to be bringing, they're going to be bringing the best pitcher we've probably seen all year," Mike Jurmu said.