Racking runs: Flames down Diamonds, 12-4
STANTON — What a difference a week made for the Copper Country Flames in American Legion baseball. Seven days ago they were mercied by the Negaunee Diamonds. However, on Saturday afternoon, the Flames bounced back and hit their way to a 12-4 win in a nine-inning game.
“Our kids played well,” said Flames manager Andy Crouch. “They played a complete game of baseball.”
Their complete effort appropriately began in the bottom of the first inning. Shortstop Justin Norkol started things off with a walk. Rightfielder Sam Kiiskila followed with a single to left. With two men on, Kevin Bostwick hit a line drive to center that was misplayed the Diamonds’ outfielder and what should have been a single turned into a triple with two RBIs. Bostwick would eventually come home on an error and after one inning the Flames led 3-0.
The Diamonds got their first tally in the second as left fielder Nico Lukarrinen hit into a fielder’s choice with bases loaded and Jackson Gladwell crossed home.
The Diamonds tied the game in the top of the third as centerfielder Jordan Ennett smacked a double off the center field fence for an RBI. It was his second hit of the game.
After making it to third on a wild pitch, Ennett came home on a double steal as third baseman Adam Ogea stole second.
However, the 3-3 tie did not last a half inning as the Flames put four on the scoreboard in their half of the third. With bases loaded, Norkol doubled bringing in two runs. Kiiskila followed with a single to left, bringing in two more runs. It was the second of three hits for Kiiskila on the afternoon.
The Flames led at that point, 7-3.
“When you put the ball into play, good things happen,” said Crouch. “And that is what happened today.”
He added that he was pleased with his two pitchers. Starter Carter Crouch got the win as hew threw six innings which included six strikeouts, four walks, five hits and three runs. Bostwick threw the last innings and had three strikeouts and one walk. He allowed one run on two hits.
“Carter and Kevin pitched well,” said Crouch.
With a four-run lead, the Flames never looked back as they added one more run in the sixth and two more runs each in the seventh and eighth innings. Bostwick helped his own cause with his second and third RBI base hits of the day in each of those innings.
“We had too many errors,” said Diamonds manager Jason Siik. “You can’t win games when you misplay balls like we did today. They are a well-coached team. They hit the ball well and that’s what wins ball games.”