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Dunstan, Houghton blank Baraga 8-0 for Over 50 crown

The Houghton Over 50 softball team poses after winning the league championship with an 8-0 victory against Baraga on Monday in Tapiola. (Paul Peterson/For the Gazette)

TAPIOLA — Steve Dunstan has pitched numerous games in his long slow-pitch softball career.

But the 8-0 shutout for Houghton against Baraga in the Over 50 playoff championship game Monday night in Tapiola had to rank among his very best showings.

Houghton manager Dave Usitalo said the blanking of Baraga was high on the list.

“Steve (Dunstan) was the difference tonight,” Usitalo said afterward. “He didn’t allow them to get anything going and he was like that all season.”

Houghton has won six of the last eight playoff titles, last year’s Chassell (now Baraga) team spoiled the streak.

Baraga, which came in on a hot streak, winning five of the last six games, managed just three hits against Dunstan.

Houghton got off to a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Baraga starter Mitch Lake.

They pushed across four runs in the fourth frame as Jim Perrin, Jed Pollard and Dave Kamerand contributed key hits.

A pair of runs in the fifth inning padded the lead as Dunstan retired six straight batters through the sixth and seventh.

Baraga manager Arnie Putala said this was a difficult season for everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know we had to start the season without three or four of our main players,” Putala said. “I think all the teams were affected.”

Pollard led Houghton with four hits, while Kamerand collected three safeties. Perrin, Dustan, Scott Madajewski and Dave Eikenberry pitched in two raps each.

“Jim (Perrin) and Kamerand also made outstanding defensive plays,” Usitalo said.

Lake allowed 16 hits in taking the mound loss.

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