Gremlin, Purple Hornets play to split

STANTON – It was the tale of two teams Monday afternoon at the Stanton Field as the Houghton Gremlins and L’Anse Purple Hornets split a doubleheader. The Gremlins took Game One under the guidance of freshman pitcher Cade Ferrell, 10-1, and the Purple Hornets hit their way to a 5-3 win in the second game.

It was Houghton’s first game of the season at home and manager Joe Romano was very happy with what he saw.

“The boys played great,” he said. “They hit the ball well and we played great defense. They played with great confidence as well.”

Ferrell pitched a complete game to start things off strong for Houghton. With a commanding curve ball and a well-placed fastball, he struck out eight Purple Hornets including the first three he faced to start the game.

“Cade was right on,” said Romano.

He was helped by some big Gremlins hitting in the third inning. Dylan Primeau and Justin Norkol both got on base with a walk and advanced on a single by Will Romano. Kevin Bostwick then stepped up and knocked a single past the shortstop scoring both Primeau and Norkol. Bostwick came home on a long fly ball hit to center field by Sam Keskimaki.

They tacked on another four runs in their half of the fourth thanks to three walks and a number of fielding errors by L’anse.

“We played very lax today,” said L’Anse manager Chad Cichosz. “We weren’t able to get a practice in over the weekend and it showed. You cannot win games by giving the other team four and five outs.”

L’Anse got their only run of the game in the fourth inning thanks to a base hits by Tanner Lane and Terry Reid. Their bats started to come around in the fifth and sixth innings, but it was not enough to overcome an eight-run margin.

In Game Two, things started off similar to the first game as the Gremlins got up on the scoreboard first. Keskimaki walked to lead things off and made it home on a series errors and wild pitches by the Purple Hornets. Houghton put up another run in the second as Norkol and Keskimaki were able to string back-to-back hits together.

It looked liked it was going the be a sweep for the Gremlins until the fifth inning, when the Purple Hornets bats lit up. They scored all five of their runs on four hits and it all occurred with two outs. After a ground out by Lucas Kissell and a strike out by CarterTollefson, Jake Hhampaa stepped up to the plate and drilled a fastball up the middle for a single. Alex Kissell followed with a line-drive double to right center. Hhampaa then came home on a Reece Waara single. Up next was Alec Rajala, who knocked his first pitch to between the gap in left-center field, which cleared the bases for the Purple Hornets and put them ahead 5-2.

“Timely hitting was key for us in that second game,” said Cichosz.

On the other bench, Romano said he should have left his starting pitcher Eli Oldt in longer as he pulled him in the fifth as the Purple Hornets started to hit.

“I should have let him go as I put my back-up pitchers in a bad situation as they didn’t have a chance to warm up and they came in cold,” he said. “I take full responsibility for that. That was my fault. But overall I was very pleased today It was good baseball.”

The Gremlins are back at it Tuesday as they will face the Calumet Copper Kings in a double header in Stanton at 4 p.m.