Keeping their spot: REL tops SNB-Stanton to remain atop Twilight standings

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette REL Inc.-Mohawk Technology’s Grant Johnson throws a pitch during a Twilight League game against Superior National Bank-Stanton Thursday in Hancock.

HANCOCK –Copper C

ountry Twilight League baseball was back in action Thursday night after last weekend’s Leo Durocher Tournament. While Superior National Bank-Stanton won the tournament, it was REL Inc.-Mohawk Technology who squeaked out an 8-7 win at the Hancock Driving Park.

The win was a combination of SNB-Stanton beating themselves and REL putting the bat on the ball when needed.

SNB-Stanton dug a 4-0 hole in the first two innings due to poor pitching. Their starter, left-hander Carter Nettell struggled to find the plate. In the bottom of the first, he walked in three runs. In the second, a wild pitch with an REL runner on third made it 4-0.

“It was a tough start for us,” said SNB-Stanton’s assistant manager Tom Durocher.

“Spotting them four runs right off the bat certainly did not help our cause.”

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette REL Inc.-Mohawk Technology’s Travis Pietila backs out of the way of a pitch during a game against Superior National Bank-Stanton Thursday in Hancock. REL won the game, 8-7, to remain atop the Twilight League standings.

However, the SNB-Stanton bats and baserunning came alive in the third as they caught up with REL’s starter Grant Johnson. Centerfielder Eli Luoma got on first with a missed third strike. He advanced on a Trent Keteri single, and then scored on a misplayed fly ball hit to centerfield by Kevin Bostwick. Keteri came in on a fielder’s choice hit to the REL shortstop by Eric Nettell, and Bostwick crossed home on a passed ball. After three innings, it was now a 4-3 game in REL’s favor.

Keteri took over in relief for Nettell in the fourth inning. REL added another run in that frame on a double steal. They did the same in the bottom of the fifth when first baseman Tyler Loukus smacked a double to left center and scored on a single to left by second baseman Travis Pietila. REL now led 6-3.

REL widened the score with two more tallies in the bottom of the sixth. Catcher Rory Anderson started the rally off with a walk. He advanced on a Sam Kariniemi single up the middle and scored on base hit by shortstop Dean Loukus. Kariniemi came home on a wild pitch and REL had a five-run lead with just three outs needed as they took the field in the top of the seventh.

SNB-Stanton, however, was not going down easy. Kade Farrell led the inning off by being hit by a pitch. Two batters later, he moved to second on a Keteri single and then came home on a Bostwick line drive. With Keteri now on second and Bostwick at first, first baseman Josh Koskela smashed a Johnson fastball down the first-base line and over fence, just barely fair, to make it a one-run game. Catcher Jon Crawford kept the rally going with a double off the left-field fence and quickly stole third.

With the tying run just 90 feet away, Carter Nettell had his work cut out. While he connected on a 2-1 pitch, it was a fly-out to left field, and the game ended with an REL holding on.

“They (SNB-Stanton) are a good hitting team, and they made things interesting real fast there in the last inning,” said REL’s player-manger Tyler Loukus. “But, I thought from top to bottom, we played a complete game and were fourtunate to come out with the win.”

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