Righting the ship

Northern Michigan Land Brokers continues winning run with 11-6 win over Frank A. Douglass

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette Northern Michigan Land Brokers pitcher Hannah Hill prepares to deliver a pitch during the sixth inning of a game against Frank A. Douglass Agency Wednesday at Chassell Field.

CHASSELL — When Northern Michigan Land Brokers opened their 2017 season in Copper Country Women’s Softball League play, they struggled in multiple-run losses. With an 11-6 win Wednesday evening over Frank A. Douglass Agency, Northern Michigan continued their recent success with another key victory at Chassell Field.

They sure made it tough on themselves early, going down 3-0 in the first inning and 4-2 in the second before finally getting their bats going.

“We got mercied the first couple of times this year, so now this feels good that we are starting to bat,” said Northern Michigan pitcher Hannah Hill. “Obviously, it feels good to win.”

Hill struggled out of the gate along with her teammates, serving up singles to three of the first four batters she faced and later seeing all three of those hits end up as runs for Frank A. Douglass. She finally seemed to settle down in the third inning, where she drew the first of three 1-2-3 innings sandwiched around a four-batter inning on her way to a complete game.

Hill felt the turnaround was, in large part, was due to her teammates finally brushing off the holiday rust and settling down.

“I think we were a little bit pre-vacation mode the first couple of innings,” said Hill. “Once we got our touch back, then things started to flow.”

Hill helped herself out at the plate as well, walking three times in five trips and later scoring all three times. Hill was not the only Northern Michigan batter to have a strong night. Beth Tormanen also walked three times and Molly Berg went 1 for 1 with two walks in the contest.

Frank A. Douglass opened strongly with the sun causing glare for the Northern Michigan defenders. Cassidy Becia, Harlee Froberg and Molly Bugni all singled. With Bugni on the basepaths, Frank A. Douglass was already up 2-0 when Meagan Bugni singled to bring Molly home and opening up a 3-0 lead.

Northern Michigan cut the lead down to one, 3-2, but Becia doubled to left field and later scored on a sacrifice by Raili Therrian to push Frank A. Douglass’ advantage back up to two.

Rather than give up, Northern Michigan rallied around Hill’s first 1-2-3 inning in the third, and when given the opportunity to bat again, they evened things up when Tormanen and Molly Berg both walked and later scored.

“When we are having fun, we tend to do really [well],” said Hill. “I think that is our biggest factor.”

In the fourth inning, Hill led off with her second walk of the night. Tormanen was hit by a pitch. Molly Berg then walked to load the bases. Hill scored on a passed ball before Kirsten Berg sacrificed to score Tormanen and give Northern Michigan a 6-4 advantage.

Northern Michigan added five more runs over the next three innings to take an 11-4 lead into the top of the seventh. After getting the first two batters with a ground out and a fly out behind home plate, Hill surrendered singles to Froberg and Bugni. Froberg later scored on a passed ball and Bugni was brought home by a single from Isabelle Cleary. Meagan Bugni then hit into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

Northern Michigan returns to action on Monday, when they will face Calumet Golf Club/The Loading Zone. Frank A. Douglass is off until next Wednesday, when they will face Calumet Campioni’s True Value.