Closer call

Calumet Golf Club/The Loading Zone holds off Northern Michigan Land Brokers in closer rematch

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette Northern Michigan Land Brokers' Andrea L'Esperance (11) reaches first base before Calumet Golf Club/The Loading Zone's Alli Johnson can get the ball passed off to Taylor Vertin during the first inning Monday at Chassell Field.

CHASSELL — The previous time Calumet Golf Club/The Loading Zone met Northern Michigan Land Brokers in Copper Country Women’s Softball League play, Calumet cruised to a victory by mercy rule. Monday night, the two teams met again, and this time Calumet again emerged victorious but at a much closer score, 8-4, at Chassell Field.

It was clear from the first throws for both starting pitchers, the bats were warmed up and ready to go as Northern Michigan gave Calumet all it could handle.

“They came out hitting,” said Calumet manager Grant Johnson. “They hit the ball well and their defense was really solid. They made plays they had to make and it was a good outing for them.”

Despite trailing 2-0 and 5-1, Northern Michigan used a three-run third inning to put pressure on Calumet starter MacKenzie LePage after cutting the lead down to 5-4.

Fortunately for LePage, she had the opportunity to get things started in the top of the fourth and she drew a key walk. She advanced into scoring position on a passed ball and that was all she needed to do. Taylor Vertin followed with a ground ball that was misplayed by the Northern Michigan defense, allowing Vertin to reach first safely and LePage to score from second base.

Jada Riutta drew a walk to follow Vertin, and the bases were soon loaded after a single by Alexa Destrampe. Kali DeMars brought Vertin home with a single, extending Calumet’s lead back to 7-4.

From there, the game was never really in question, thanks in large part to the efforts of reliever Elli Djerf, who came in and shut down Northern Michigan’s offense the rest of the night.

“I think we kind of controlled the tempo after that point,” said Grant Johnson. “So, that was a big inning for us. That is how it works, there are highs and there are lows in this game. You have to ride the highs and I thought we did well. We put enough on the board to get the ‘W.'”

The only two baserunners Djerf allowed from the bottom of the fourth inning on were from back-to-back walks issued to Molly Berg and Janie Berg in the bottom of the sixth. Djerf racked up three strikeouts over her four innings of work.

Djerf’s appearance on the mound was all part of the plan for Calumet, as they have used multiple pitchers throughout the season.

“She’s a gamer and we know that wherever we put her, especially in the pitching role at the end of the game, we are going to do well,” said Grant Johnson. “That worked out well, worked out in our favor.”

Calumet got things going early as Vertin singled. Riutta followed with a single of her own and both runners were brought home by a single from DeMars.

Up 3-1 in the third, Calumet continued to put runs on the board when Riutta drew a walk and later scored when Alli Johnson reached first on a defensive error. Alli Johnson then scored on a passed ball to put Calumet up 5-1.

Northern Michigan’s big third inning was started by a single from Abby Bjorn, whose dribbler got past Riutta at third. A passed ball allowed Bjorn to rush to second. After a sacrifice by Laura Berg put Bjorn on third, Andrea L’Esperance popped up. LePage seemed to lose the ball in the sunlight and dropped it, allowing L’Esperance to reach safely.

That mistake proved costly as Kelsey Pietila knocked home two runs with a ball that proved hard to track down in right field. Pietila then scored when Molly Berg reached on a defensive error, cutting Calumet’s lead down to one.

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Auto Pro Glass and Tire defeated Frank A. Douglass Agency 8-6 on Friday night in Women’s Fastpitch.

Sarah Audette was the winning pitcher with seven strikeouts and a walk. Josie Conners took the loss for Frank A. Douglass Agency; Conners had 6 strikeouts.

Frank A. Douglass Agency took the lead after one inning of play. Auto Pro was able to tie it up, then Frank A. Douglass Agency took the lead again.

Auto Pro tied it up once again in the fourth inning.

In the top of the fifth inning, with a 5-5 score, Auto Pro scored two runs to take the lead, including the game winning run on a home run by Kenzie Brunet. Each team scored a run in the seventh inning to bring the score to a final of 8-6 in favor of Auto Pro.

At the plate for Auto Pro Glass and Tire, Kyleigh Audette had four singles, Brunet had two doubles and a home run and Taylor Shepeard had two singles.

Harlee Froberg had a double and a single for Frank A. Douglass Agency and Cassidy Becia had a double.