J. Peltier uses big innings to top Sayen’s

Jamie Glenn/Daily Mining Gazette A J. Peltier Construction hitter fouls off a pitch during Portage Lake Little League Majors action Saturday against Sayen’s Auto Sales in South Range.

SOUTH RANGE — Looking to continue their recent success, J. Peltier Construction did just that Saturday, bouncing back from a rough inning to earn a 20-9 victory over Sayen’s Auto Sales in Portage Lake Little League Majors action Saturday at Veterans Field in South Range.

J. Peltier manager Jesse Kentala was extremely pleased with the way his team handled the warm temperatures.

“First off it was good energy,” Kentala said. “We had a lot of fun today. It was nice to get a beautiful day of baseball in. The weather hasn’t been kind to us this spring, (so) to have a good warm day (and) get all the kids out here to just playing the kids’ game. It was a lot of fun.”

J. Peltier started off the contest with some hot bats, putting seven runs in the first inning. Jarren Rajala, Todd Kilpela and Ethan Hainault all singled. All three later scored. Latham Salmi walked, Liam Tourtillot and Caleb Kentala both singled and later scored to put the visitors up 6-0. Connor Laitala doubled and later scored on a single by Landon Larson to close out the scoring in the first.

Looking to answer immediately, Sayen’s (5-2-1 overall) did thanks to a walk earned by Ian Hembroff. Matthew Guilbault also walked before Hudson Markham singled. All three scored.

In the top of the second, J. Peltier added two more runs. Hainault singled and later scored and Salmi was hit by a pitch and later scored as well as the visitors took a 9-3 lead.

Needing a big inning, Sayen’s got it in the bottom of the second as they struck five times to cut the lead down to one, 9-8.

Jake Cooke got things started with a double. Landon Edward walked. Kirby Storm then walked. Hembroff walked and all four found home plate. Guilbault singled and later scored on a double by William Bershing to pull the hosts within one.

In the third, J. Peltier’s bats were finally shut down, for the most part, with the visitors only scoring once. Larson singled and later scored.

A seven-run fourth inning saw J. Peltier push their advantage to 17-8. Tourtillott got things started with a triple to lead off. Caleb Kentala was hit by a pitch and Rylan Maki walked to load the bases. Larson walked to score a run. Jarren Rajala also walked to score another one. Kilpela singled, Hainault walked and Salmi singled. All three scored on a double from Tourtillott.

Laitala gave J. Peltier another run in the fifth by walking and later scoring.

Cooke answered in the bottom of the fifth by walking and later scoring, making it 18-9 in favor of J. Peltier.

Tourtillott doubled and Caleb Kentala walked in the sixth and both found home plate before the final out was recorded.

“As far as the game went, it was good to get the bat on the ball,” said coach Kentala. “I thought our first inning propelled us throughout the game. (We) had some big hits from some kids who had been struggling, so (we’re) pretty proud of the way that we hit the bal today.”

Of mention for Kentala were Kilpela and Larson, who each ran in four runs on the day.

“Todd Kilpela has been a kid who just keeps getting better and better for us,” said coach Kentala. “He was our second pitcher. (He) came in (and) threw strikes, had a couple big shutouts and his bat was real steady today.

“Landon Larson, he’s our ninth batter and he keeps pounding the ball every game (by) making good contact. I thought everyone contributed. Everyone had a piece of that one (and) we’re proud of that.”

Sayen’s Auto manager Dan Sayen liked his team’s effort, but two comebacks were not enough.

“We did a lot of good things (but) we gave up a lot of runs,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that we can correct. Fielding, we can get a little more sharp with the fielding.

“We tried some pitchers today that did a good job. Some of them pitched for the first time all year and I thought they did a good job and will get more chances later (on in the season). It was a great team effort today. We didn’t have any standouts that would jump off the page.”

Both teams will pick up the bat again on Tuesday.

“We play (on) Tuesday, right here in South Range and (we’re) just going to prepare by making less mistakes,” said coach Sayen.