GLADSTONE - Houghton settled down in time to claim a postseason victory Tuesday, defeating Westwood 9-4 in a Division 3 softball district opener.
Laura Ruohonen struck out 11 and walked five as the Gremlins (8-7) advance to a semifinal against Negaunee Saturday at 10 a.m.
Westwood scored a pair of runs in the second, but Ruohonen singled with the bases loaded to drive in two and tie the game. Houghton took the lead for good the following inning with a single run.
In the fifth Jill Keskimaki clubbed a pitch over the centerfielder's head, then Jill and Colleen Toorongian drew walks. Sydney Dillinger followed with an RBI single to right, scoring Keskimaki and beginning a five-run outburst as the Gremlins batted around and took a 9-3 lead.
Westwood managed a single run in the seventh, but that was all.
"The nerves got the best of us in the first couple of innings, but once we settled down and got our bats going, it was really fun to watch the girls play at the district level," Houghton coach Melissa Grego said.
NORWAY - The Red Devils unloaded for five runs in the first inning, built a 7-0 advantage after two and put the game away with six runs in the third.
Pam Romans smacked three hits with a double. Kassi Huotari and Tiah Pusakulich each doubled and singled.
Kaitlyn Tollstam crossed the plate four times.
Huotari checked the Bulldogs on three hits, including doubles by Mackenzie Brunet and Olivia Rouleau, and struck out 10.
Ironwood will face Ishpeming in Friday's semifinals.