L'ANSE - A deep stable of arms has the Portage Lake Minor (9-10 years old) Little League squad surviving to play another game.
PL used five pitchers in six innings to shut down Ishpeming 5-2 Tuesday in L'Anse in a District 11 tournament game, with the quintet combing to strike out 11 Ishpeming batters while holding them to two hits and four walks.
Caleb Bach, Chad Nordstrom, Emmitt Larson, Nick Horning and Dylan Primeau all toed the mound for Portage, which will play Marquette today at 7 p.m.
Portage Lake’s Caleb Bach reaches for a grounder at shortstop during a District 11 Minor (age 9-10) tournament game in L’Anse Tuesday night. Portage Lake defeated Ishpeming 5-2. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
"That's a big strength of our squad, we have 11 players who can all pitch," Portage Lake manager Paul Horning said. "It really helps in these tournaments, when it looks like one kid is tiring you can get another good arm in there. The key is to know when to switch them, which I think we did a better job of today than Sunday."
Portage scored three runs in the second inning with hits from Primeau, Dylan Horning and Nick Horning doing the damage.
The early lead helped settle the young team down, according to manager Paul Horning, which was still showing some nerves from Sunday's game.
"We are trying to get them settled down, and having some fun out there," Horning said. "I think they are a little nervous right now, being 9-and-10 years old, not used to the pressure of the tournament. We want them relaxed and playing loose."
The whole squad really loosened up when Austin Salani belted a no-doubt home run to deep center in the fifth inning, showing some prodigious power.
The team waited to mob Salani at the plate as the PL catcher rounded the bases.
"Austin is a really talented kid, and just has baseball on his mind all the time," Horning said. "We like him behind the plate because he can be a good leader back there involved in every play."
Nick Horning scored in the top of the sixth with a Brandon Norkol single driving him in to cap off the scoring.
Primeau struck out two Ishpeming batters in the sixth to close the game out and kick off the Portage celebration.
Salani, Primeau and Nick Horning all recorded two hits each for Portage.
"If we can get the bats going, I think we can be pretty good," Paul Horning said. "We have a tough test (today) with Marquette."