Elks use some big innings to top Auto Pro

Jamie Glenn/Daily Mining Gazette A Copper Country Elks baserunner touches home plate during a Portage Lake Little League Minors baseball game against Auto Pro Glass & Tire in South Range.

SOUTH RANGE — The Copper Country Elks cruised to a 13-5 win over visiting Auto Pro Glass & Tire in Portage Lake Little League Minors action Monday at Veterans Field in South Range.

With the win, the Elks earned their third victory of the year. Nearly every player moved the scoreboard by stealing bases and capitalizing on errors.

“We fielded really well,” said Elks manager Levi Matteson. “I think everybody on our whole team hit the ball. If (players) can hit the ball, and you field the ball, you usually win.”

The Elks struck early when Pierce Johnson, with the bases loaded in the first inning, touched home plate. Shortstop Everett Matteson made it 2-0 before the end of the first inning.

Looking to respond, Auto Pro (6-5 overall) did just that in the bottom half of the first.

Danny Sturos singled top lead off. Redick Randell walked. Both later scored before Ensio Anderson walked. He later scored on a single by Ted Kilpela.

“Our left center fielder Redick Randell had two great grabs out there, both of them were running catches and one of them he actually slide to catch it (to make) a beautiful play,” Auto Pro manager Bruce Larson.

The Elks evened things in the second inning.

Things remained even until the top of the fourth when the Elks broke through with five runs.

Landon Gibson, Trent Pietila, Levi Matteson and Hayden Matteson all reached and later scored. Alan Larsen scored for the second straight inning to make the score 8-3.

Larsen also added a third run in the fifth.

“We had a few costly errors that extended innings that let them score some extra runs,” said Larson. “They hit the ball well. They hit the gaps that extended innings.

“We just have to work on our defense a little bit. Our hitting has been pretty solid. We’ve been scoring enough runs to win games but sometimes we show up and we play great defense. Sometimes we don’t and those costly errors (put us in) extended innings and lets (teams) score extra runs.”

A single by Randell and a steal from Forest LaCourt set things up for Auto Pro’s last two runs.

With the end of the Little League regular season approaching, Matteson hopes that his players learned new skills and had fun playing together.

“I want the kids to (come) away with just having fun but also just making sure that they know the positions,” coach Matteson said. “This week they were moving where they were suppose to go and so we’re starting to get it. We needed a couple more weeks and we would really have it.

“Our next game here is on Wednesday. We’re going to get some rest and go pay in the back yard and throw some pitches.”