L'ANSE - The last two games of the District 11 Minor (age 9-10) Little League tournament read more like one game played twice.
Saturday, Portage Lake kept rolling from its 12-2 four-inning win over Negaunee in the first championship game the night before and earned a berth in the state tournament with another 12-2 four-inning win.
"I'm really excited. A lot of weight came off today and I couldn't be happier for these kids. I'm going to just sit back and let them enjoy the moment," PL manager Paul Horning said.
Members of the Portage Lake Little League Minor (age 9-10)?all-stars take a victory lap with their championship banner after a 12-2 win over Negaunee in four innings in the District 11 tournament championship game at Bill Jarvey Memorial Field in L’Anse Saturday. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
There was a big hit from Chad Nordstrom to start an early Portage Lake surge. There was a Negaunee counterattack. There was Portage Lake pulling away quickly thereafter. Just like Friday night.
"We never looked back. We kept coming. I knew we were set for pitchers. I had no worries we had four more pitchers we could bring in that were just as fast as Dylan (Primeau) or Emmitt (Larson)," Horning said.
This time it was a long double from Nordstrom that moved Caleb Bach from first to third. Austin Salani drew a walk and Dylan Primeau drove all three in with a double. Primeau himself later scored on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead after an inning.
Negaunee got its second-inning runs through plate discipline.
Six Negaunee batters walked in the frame but even then, it led to just two runs, thanks to a tag at the plate and a daring sliding catch from centerfielder Brandon Norkol that ended the inning and could have saved as many as three Negaunee runs. Keith Juidici and Gavin Jacobson earned the RBIs with their eyes.
PL scored twice in the