Miner sweep: Miners take two from Gremlins
HANCOCK — The visiting Negaunee Minors topped the Houghton Gremlins 8-1 and 14-2 in doubleheader action at the Hancock Driving Park on Monday night. Houghton had a more cohesive opening game, but errors in the bottom of the fifth inning caught up to the hosts.
“Overall, Negaunee is a pretty good team,” said Gremlins manager Melissa Baker. “The first game, we were in it, (but) we had two bad innings. Take away out errors and we were right with them.”
The Gremlins’ Quinn Donnelly hit a ground ball to short bringing Cassidy Becia home for a short-loved 1-0 lead. The run was Houghton’s only one in the opener.
Mackenzie Karki took advantage of an error by Houghton’s Abby Ronis and tied up the game 1-1 for the Miners. Mykenna Kontio then hit a ground ball to first bringing Abby Nelson home for a 2-1 Miners’ lead in the bottom of the first.
“I thought the first game we started off kind of slow,” said Miners manager Randy Carlson. “We weren’t hitting a lot of balls (very) hard. Josie (Connors) pitched a good game for them. Even the hits we were getting were not hard hits.”
Miners picher Skyler Hall had 22 first pitch-strikes and 13 strikeouts in the first game. Katelyn Lammi, Hannah Voskuhl, Kontio, Jess Heroux and Payton Drew all touched home plate before the end of the game, having adjusted to the strike zone early in the matchup.
“The strike zone was something that both teams had to adjust to,” said Carlson. “I thought the umpire called a lot of high strikes, but he was consistent with both teams, so that forced a lot of adjustment too. We usually talk to our girls about laying off things above their hands (so) it makes (players) adjust a little bit.”
Game Two came to an end in five innings with Negaunee starting right away in the top of the first. Voskuhl made contact allowing Karki to score.
Karki finished the game with three runs.
Houghton had three quick outs in the bottom of the first. Drew, Cassidy Orr and Shaylee Menhennick all brought in runs in the top of the second. In the third, Voskuhl and Lammi hit back-to-back home runs for a 7-0 lead. Drew then helped extend the lead to 9-0 before the end of the inning.
“I was much happier the second game because we hit a lot of balls hard (and had) a very good performance,” said Carlson. “We have six games left. We’re working for districts. Ultimately that’s what it comes down to so we’re just trying to get better.
“Our pitching has been petty solid all year. Hitting has been the one things that has been a little bit inconsistent so.. It’s something that comes. You’ve got to score runs to win.”
Houghton’s Molly Bugni and Connors both scored in the bottom of the third, but it was too little too late.
“In the second game they just pounded the ball,” said Baker. “There wasn’t much that we could do about it. Josie (Connors) did a good job pitching. There were times that we got it together in the second game, but it just wasn’t enough.
“We are going to take lots of reps and just get more situations down.”
Kontio and Lammi both scored two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to push the Miners’ advantage to 11-2. Morgan Carlson and Voskuhl hit homers to close out the scoring.