Negaunee slugged their way to sweep of Copper Kings Tuesday

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Negaunee batter Hunter Haanpaa ducks from a pitch during part of a doubleheader with Calumet Tuesday at Wolverine Field.

CALUMET — The Neguanee Miners baseball team has been working hard in the batting cages over the last few weeks honing their skills at the plate. Their hard work paid off on Tuesday as they slugged their way to a sweep of the Calumet Copper Kings at Wolverine Field. They won the first game, 12-2, on the mercy rule and the second one, 4-0.

“I thought it was the best baseball we’ve played all year,” said Miners manager Jason Siik. “We’ve been working hard on hitting and even our outs were hard hit balls. We played good, clean baseball.”

Their hit parade began in the first inning of the first game as Eric Anderson led things off with a single. First baseman Alex Munson came up two batters later and punched an RBI line-drive double to left center. Three batters later, third baseman Adam Ogea poked a double up the middle, and when the inning ended, the Miners had four runs on the board.

Calumet was able to make it 4-1 in their half of the first, but the Miners tacked on two more runs on four hits in the second to make it 6-1.

The Miners put Alex Zampese on the mound while the Copper Kings went with hurler Isaac Bennetts.

Zampese and second game starter Jaden Grobar did what any high school pitcher should do. They put the ball across the plate.

“I really liked our starting pitching,” said Siik. “They threw strikes. Neither are overpowering, but they hit the corners and put the ball in play. Our catchers did a great job of calling the game as well.”

While Calumet was able to put the ball in play, they had a hard time penetrating Negaunee’s tough defense.

Adding to their problems, Calumet struggled in the field to make consistent plays.

“We had too many fielding errors and missed too many fly balls,” said Calumet manager David Yeo. “You cannot do that and plan to win games.”

The first game ended in the fifth inning on the mercy rule as the Miners went up 12-2.

The hit parade continued in the second game as Negaunee put two runs as Anderson, Logan Fish and shortstop Carter Richardson all got base hits in the first inning and crossed home. It was 3-0.

In both games, the Miners were quick on the basepaths. Once they arrived on first base, it became apparent they would steal second.

“Everyone has got the green light,” said Siik. “Again we work had at that. Our players were getting good reads and great jumps. I think we’ve stolen more than 60 bases this season so far.”

Meanwhile, the Copper Kings were having a hard time making it to first base. The Miners shut them down in the field. In fact, they pulled off two double plays in the second game.

While Yeo was wondering what happened to his hitters in the second game, he was pleased with the work of starting pitcher Dan Tarnowski. In short, he threw strikes.

“Pitching in the second game was good, but we couldn’t get any runs to back us up,” said Yeo. “It is something we are going to have to work on.”

Calumet was not able to put anyone across the plate as Negaunee’s Grobar tossed a complete-game shutout.

With the losses, the Copper Kings fell to 5-11 on the season.

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