Hancock sweeps Lakes

HANCOCK – Delaney Heinonen took care of the pitching and Emma Almquist and Mackenzie Brunet handled a good portion of the hitting Friday afternoon to lead Hancock High to a girls softball sweep of Lake Linden-Hubbell.

Heinonen dominated the Lakes in both games, 12-1 in the first and 11-1 in the nightcap.

Hancock coach Randy Heinonen feels that his team is peaking at the right time.

“In the last month or so we’ve been improving as a team,” he said. “Our practices have been good and we’re just playing better softball.”

The Lakes, who have been in a bit of a slide recently, committed some costly mistakes in both games.

In the opener, the Bulldogs strung together five straight hits to go along with a couple of Lakes miscues in the second frame.

LL-H coach Jeff Shepeard said mistakes always come back to haunt you.

“Hancock is a good team,” he said. “You make a couple of mistakes, they get some hits, and before you know it, the game is out of reach.”

With an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning, the Bulldogs added two markers when Almquist cleared the leftfield fence.

It was the first time a ninth-grader at HCHS has belted one over the fence.

“She (Almquist) is going to be a tremendous player,” Heinonen noted. “She already has skills you don’t see very often in a young player.”

Almquist and senior Brunet each had three hits for the Crimson Gold. Both had doubles.

Heinonen and Jordan Rowe contributed two hits.

Hendrickson had both of the Lakes hits.

Abby Sutherland was the losing pitcher, with Carli Ongie also pitching.

After the Lakes grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening inning of the second game, the Bulldogs answered right back.

They plated one run in the bottom of the first, then struck for four more in the second frame.

Rowe had the key hit, a bases-loaded single. Three walks and two errors also aided the Hancock cause.

The winners kept adding on after that and Heinonen kept the Lakes at bay. Ongie was the losing hurler.

After striking out eight batters in the first game, Heinonen added three strikeouts in the second game.

Brunet and Rowe led the offense with a two raps apiece.

With a 7-3 record in the conference, Hancock will close the regular season with road trip to L’Anse on Monday.

The Bulldogs will go to Lake Linden in an opening round district game later this month. The rest of the tourney will be played in Ironwood.

Heinonen believes his team will have a good shot in postseason play.

“Norway is probably the favorite, but we think we can compete,” the Hancock skipper said.