Houghton Rotary continues hot run, tops CC Elks

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton Rotary’s Isaac Wanhala beats the tag at the plate from the Copper Country Elk’s Pierce Johnson during a Portage Lake Little League Minors action Wednesday.

SOUTH RANGE –Houghton Rotary notched another victory in the win column in Portage Lake Little League Minors action Wednesday night as they downed the Copper Country Elks, 17-10, at Veterans Field. It was Houghton’s third win in a row as they are heating up as the regular season comes to an end on Saturday.

“The kids have just been getting better and better,” said Hoghton Rotary’s manager Daron Durocher. “We have improved with our hitting and fielding from when we first began.”

They certainly put those improvements on display Wednesday as they came off the bench swinging to the tune of a 3-0 lead after one inning. Catcher Jax Pierner started things off with a base hit. Tevin Stukel followed his lead two batters later with a hard hit ball through the infield and starting pitcher Isaac Wanhala cleared the bases with a hard hit ball of his own.

They tagged on five more in the top of the second after shutting down the Elks in the bottom of the first. It was base hits by Emrey Durocher and Riley Kovach that made the difference.

However, the Elks came back in their half of the second with a five-run rally. Third baseman Terrance Nolan and pitcher Hayden Matteson started it off with walk. Levi Matteson then moved them around with a base hit through the left side and Alan Larsen followed with a hard hit ball of his own.

A few batters later, left fielder Tom Niedzwiecki came home on a wild throw, making the score 8-5 in favor of Houghton.

While Houghton grabbed two more in the third, the Elks added three more tallies. This included an Everett Matteson solo home run to start the inning off. He nailed a fast ball off the fence in right center and touched all four.

However, the Houghton hit parade continued into the fourth as they posted another five-run inning and put the game out of reach.

While it was a tough loss to swallow, Elks manager Levi Matteson said he was pleased with his team’s fighting spirit. They never gave up.

“The kids played well against a very good team,” he said. “The last time we played them, we were mercied, so this was definitely an improvement. Other than a couple of break downs in the field, I am extremely proud of the way the kids played. They have all improved over the season. With that in mind, we are excited to head into the playoffs next week.”

With the loss, the Elks fell to 3-8 on the season. Meanwhile, Houghton Rotary improved to 8-3-2.