Houghton splits doubleheader with Calumet Monday

Eddie O’Neill/AP Photo Houghton’s McKenna McKay fouls off a pitch during a doubleheader against Calumet Monday at Legion Field in Calumet.

CALUMET – With the sun shining and the temperature in the mid-60s, it was a beautiful day for softball at Legion Field Monday. The Copper Kings were hosting their first regular season games on the newly field against the Houghton Gremlins. The Copper Kings knocked out a victory in the first game of the doubleheader, 18-9, while the Gremlins squeaked out a 7-6 victory in Game Two.

In Game One, the Copper Kings struck first in the top of the first as lead-off hitter Ellie Djerf ripped a single up the middle off Houghton starter Josie Connors. Megan Peterson followed and got on base with an error. Jonna Berg then stepped up to the plate and ripped a line drive to the gap in left-center field clearing the bases for two runs.

In the bottom of the first, the Gremlins not only tied the game, but went up 4-2. Centerfielder Cassidy Becia started the scoring off of Calumet’s starter, Djerf, as she had an RBI double that rolled to the fence. Connors and right fielder Chloe Morley both earned walks, bringing Maddie Williston to the plate.

She stroked a hard-hit ground ball through the left-side of the infield which brought in one run. Shortstop Quinn Donnelly followed with a base hit of her own and brought in the fourth run of the inning.

The first inning would repeat itself for the next several innings as the teams would score runs each inning. For Calumet, it was the fact that their bats were hot while the Gremlins struggled in the field with throwing errors.

“The bats were rattling in the first game, but I am not sure why they weren’t in the second game,” said Calumet manager Joel Rastello. “I thought we looked sharp on the field.”

In the second, the Copper Kings bounced back to take the lead with four runs. Those came off of five singles in a row as the bottom-half of their lineup showed what they were made of. But Houghton came back to tie it at six with two runs of their own due to strong hitting by Cassidy Becia and Molly Bugni.

However, errors caught up with the Gremlins in the third as they allowed two unearned Calumet runs crossed the plate.

“We had way too many throwing errors, stated Houghton Melissa Baker. “There were too many errors to win a game.”

Djerf struck out the Gremlins in their bottom half. She had 10 strikeouts on the afternoon.

In the fourth, Calumet shortstop Vera Peterson made history as she launched the first home run at Legion Field. It was a solo blast to deep center field. She was mobbed by her teammates after crossing home plate.

“I was happy for Vera as that was quite a shot,” said Rastello.

While the Gremlins tacked on one in the fourth and two in the sixth, it was not enough to catch the Copper Kings, who went onto a nine-run victory.

In between games Baker sat her girls down and gave them an ultimatum.

“I told them if I see twenty errors again, all we would be doing is running (at practice) this next week,” she said. “And I think they got the message.”

She stuck with Connors again on the mound, and the second was her better game. Connors had fewer walks and consistently threw strikes. The Copper Kings put Molly Halonen out as their pitcher.

It was Houghton’s time to strike first as Bungi cleared the bases in the first with a two-run double that rolled to the right-center fence.

However, the Gremlins tied it at two with knocks by Djerf and Vera Peterson. In the second they would go ahead with one run thanks to an RBI double by Djerf.

In the third, the Gremlins came right back with three runs. Donnelly was the heroine as punched a hard-hit line drive into the gap in center which brought in two runs. Williston did her part and knocked in Bungi to make the score 5-3 in their favor.

Calumet however rallied back with two in their third frame and tied the score at five.

It would stay that way until the fifth when Donnelly continued her hitting ways led things off with a triple and came home on a Bungi single.

Calumet, however, answered again and tied the score at six thanks to base hits by Jana Loukus and a double by Andrea Kariniemi.

It would stay that way until the seventh inning. It was then that Becia started the rally with a single. Donnelly followed with another double and Bungi knocked Becia in with a single of her own.

That was all the Gremlins needed to win 7-6. They were able to put the Copper Kings down three in a row to end the game.

Calumet moved to 8-5 on the season while Houghton advanced to 6-4.

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