Roundup: KBear wins in extras, NorthStar wins
ight for playoff baseball at the Gipp Fields on Tuesday. REL Inc. took an early lead on KBear in the opener with two runs in the top of the first as Ryder Hyrkas and Luke Hamlin both walked and came in to score on wild pitches.
Both starters settled in after that and pitched well. Toby Johnson for REL held KBear batters at bay other than a five-run second, keyed by two-run doubles from Owen Peterson and Max Harju. Henry Johnson also drove in a run with a base hit.
REL retook the lead with three in the third. Luke Hamlin started it with his first of two home runs, this one a solo blast. Hamlin added to the REL lead with a two run homer in the fourth.
Orrin Johnson lead off the bottom of the fourth with a double and Niiko Johnson batted him in with a ground out to cut the REL lead to 8-6.
In the bottom of the fifth, Max Harju drove in Max Spelich with a ground out after Spelich lead off the inning with a double and stole third. That made it a one-run game. Henry Johnson was able to face the minimum three batters in the top of the sixth to keep it there. The third out made with a nice relay from the KBear fielders at the plate with Landen Abramson trying to stretch a triple into an inside the park home run.
With a classic unfolding, REL was up 8-7 in the sixth and looking to move on to semifinals on Thursday. Trevor Berg was able to lead off with a double and Orrin Johnson came up with a big RBI groundout. Luke Hamlin, now pitching for REL, kept them there though, forcing extra innings.
REL scored twice in the top of the seventh, giving them a 10-8 lead. Toby Johnson drove in Miles Aho with a base hit and John Kero batted in Luke Hamlin with a ground out.
KBear struck back, nearly walking off in the bottom of the seventh, but had the winning run in the form of Izaak Englund called out at the plate. He was the third out, but did tie the game with the two-run triple driving in Harju and Henry Johnson to re-tie the game. Spelich had also been gunned down at the play after singling with one out and trying to score on Harju’s double, his second of the game.
In the top of the eighth Henry Johnson again faced the minimum three REL batters, striking out two and with help from a great catch by Englund at shortstop, robbing Ryder Hyrkas of potentially extra bases with his solid line drive and sending the teams into the bottom of the eighth, the second extra inning of the game.
Berg lead off for KBear with a hit. Clara Isaacson then walked and Berg moved into scoring position as the winning run. Orrin Johnson, who had driven in Berg to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth and forced the extra again, showed that he is a clutch hitter with the walk off RBI single.
Henry Johnson earned the win pitching four innings and striking out eight. Peterson and Spelich combined to pitch the first four for KBear and struck out eight between the two.
Hamlin pitched well but took the loss for REL. He and Toby Johnson struck on seven KBear batters.
K-Bear 102 will play Dean Kangas State Farm Thursday at the Gipp Fields at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
In the other Keweenaw Little League minor league playoff matchup at Gipp Fields Tuesday, the game was close into until the bottom of the fifth. NorthStar BP lead 12-10 over Greentree Health and Rehab.
Northstar then scored eight runs to end the game, 20-10 in five.
NorthStar will face Superior Polymer in the other semifinal also to be played 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Laurium. The winners of the semifinals will meet in the championship game at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Gipp Fields.