Xpress’ bats stay hot in win over Houghton Rotary

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton Rotary’s Russell Trewartha connects with a pitch for a ground ball during a game againt Xpress Self Storage Wednesday in Portage Lake Little League Minors play.

STANTON — The bats of Xpress Self Storage remained on fire Wednesday night as they slugged their way to an 18-7 victory over Houghton Rotary in Portage Lake Little League Minors play. What made this win a special one was that everyone in the lineup put the bat on the ball.

From their lead-off slugger, Brody Donnelly, down to their 12th batter in the lineup, everybody connected at least once.

“We got a team of hitters,” said Xpress manager Andy Moyle. “Every one of our kids on this team loves to hit and loves to run the bases and you saw that again tonight. They are a super passionate team. They love the game and they love to play and love to win even more.”

Xpress started things off with a big five-run first inning. Donnelly got things going with a double. Gunner Gullstrand followed with a double of his own and Benny Keranen brought them in both with a triple. Hits and runs also came from Davis Moyle and Sylvia Aho.

Houghton Rotary got one of their own in the bottom of the first as Jax Pierner started it off with a double and came home on a wild pitch.

Xpress widened the gap with four more runs in the top half of the second. Houghton Rotary however battled back with a five-run inning of their own.

“The second was our best inning,” said Houghton Rotary manager Daron Durocher. ” We were able to put some hits together and bring in runs.”

Russell Trewartha began the rally with a single through the right side. Then came three walks give up by Xpress hurler Donnelly. Pierner got his second hit off the evening with a bases-clearing double. He then came home off a Luciano Paoli home run which was a high fastball pounded into the gap in left field. After he touched all four, the score was 9-6 in favor of Xpress.

“I wish we had more innings like that,” said Durocher. “We need more consistency throughout the lineup.”

Pierner replaced Houghton Rotary starter Isaac Wanhala in the third and struck out the side. Unfortunately, they could not put together another big inning in the third nor the fourth as their bats suddenly fell silent.

Thora Bier came in to throw the third inning for Xpress and struck out two and allowed no runs. Keranen threw the fourth and the fifth and struck out the side both innings.

Meanwhile, the Xpress hit machine kept rolling with three runs in the fourth and six more in the fifth to end the game.

“The better team won tonight,” said Durocher. “They hit the ball better and played better. They are a very good team.”