LAKE LINDEN — “See-saw” would be the best term to describe Wednesday night’s semifinal battle between Northern Michigan Land Brokers and Auto Pro Glass and Tire in the Copper Country Women’s Softball League playoffs at the Boneyard.
The game was a battle from the opening pitch, and it should have been, given that Northern Michigan entered the tournament with a record of 7-3 and Auto Pro finished the season at 7-4.
The game saw five lead changes with Auto Pro coming out on top, 7-4, in the end.
“The better team won tonight,” said Northern Michigan’s player-manager Mel Baker. “Both teams played well.”
It was quite a matchup for the first three innings as Northern Michigan got on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Baker got a hit off of Auto Pro’s Sarah Audette and would make it home on two throwing errors by Auto Pro.
Auto Pro bounced back however as Kierstyn Codere led off with a sharp-hit grounder that got through the middle of the infield. McKenzie Brunet kept things going as she arrived to first on a fielder’s choice and they both scored on a hard hit double to right field by their shortstop Taylor Shepheard.
After one, Auto Pro led 2-1.
Both sides got a run in the second. Shortstop Quinn Donnelly crossed home for Northern Michigan. In the bottom half of the inning, Codere got on board again with an infield single. She reached second on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error by Northern Michigan to make it 3-2 in favor of Auto Pro.
In the top of the third, Northern Michigan regained the lead, 4-3, thanks to runs scored by Baker and Cassidy Becia on a series of misplays and errors by Auto Pro.
Rather than hang their heads after making more mistakes, Auto Pro gathered in their dugout, and calmed down. They then bounced back in the bottom half of the third when Codere doubled. She found her way to second by stealing it and later made it home on an error by the catcher, evening the game at 4-4.
The game remained there for the next two innings. Both teams played strong defense and Audette and Baker held their own with strong pitching. For Northern Michigan, Donnelly dug out some hard hit ground balls at short and Auto Pro’s Erin Gast caught everything in centerfield.
In the bottom of the sixth, Auto Pro broke the tie for good.
Kylie Audette reached first on an error. She stole second and was brought home on a single by Codere. Wild pitches moved Codere to third. Emme Rowe then walked.
With runners on the corners, Sarah Audette brought them both in with a double down the third base line.
Back on the mound for the top of the seventh, Audette faced only four batters to close out the victory.
Baker added that it was a fun year with much improvement made in regards to fielding.
Auto Pro will face Superior National Bank for the Copper Country’s Women’s Softball championship game tonight at 7 p.m. at the Boneyard.