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Wild-cat champs: SNB-Stanton shuts down opposition to win Twilight title

SNB-Stanton shuts down opposition to win Twilight title

Superior National Bank-Stanton’s Tyler LaDuron pitches against REL Inc.-Mohawk Technologies in the Twilight League championship game on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, at Stanton Field in Stanton, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

STANTON — Pitching helped Superior National Bank-Stanton hold opponents scoreless in winning the Twilight Baseball League championship on Sunday.

The win punctuated a tumultuous 2020 that has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. As professional and college sports across the nation confronts holding games without fans, or facing cancellations and postponements, the Twilight Baseball League’s season began and continued entirely within the framework of Michigan’s coronavirus social distancing orders. Underscoring the weird year 2020 has come to be known, Sunday’s Twilight League championship game had more fans in attendance than every MLB game combined this season.

The No. 1 seed Wildcats (9-2), led by pitcher Tyler LaDuron’s 14 strikeouts in the championship game, topped REL Inc.-Mohawk Technologies 10-0 to win the championship.

LaDuron threw a one-hit game, giving up the lone hit, a double to Brian Halonen, in the fourth inning. LaDuron walked Rory Anderson in the first inning. That was the only offense REL Inc.-MT (5-6) could manage against LaDuron’s hissing fastball in the late August humid sun.

Pitching also powered the Wildcats Sunday morning to kick off the league championship tournament.

REL Inc.-Mohawk Technologies’ Brian Halonen bats against Superior National Bank-Stanton in the Twilight League championship game on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, at Stanton Field in Stanton, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

SNB-Stanton pitchers including Cole Jepsen and Eli Luoma combined for 15 strikeouts in the 8-0 win in the semifinals against No. 4 seed Dean Kangas-State Farm (3-7).

SNB-Stanton’s bats also help put distance on the scoreboard throughout the day.

Josh Koskela capped the Wildcats’ day with a three-run double to right field in the sixth inning. SNB-Stanton scored three in the fifth and four in the sixth to invoke the mercy rule win for the championship.

Connor Hannon singled and scored in the first to give the Wildcats an early lead, scoring on an REL Inc.-MT error. SNB-Stanton added another run in the second when Koskela scored on an RBI single by Hannon. Dax Durocher scored in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Hannon.

The Wildcats bust the doors open in the fifth when Kevin Bostwick singled Eli Luoma to score with two outs in the fifth. Trent Keteri followed up with a two-run single to extend the lead to 6-0.

Alan Jurmu and Sam Kariniemi pitched for REL Inc.-MT. They combined to give up the 10 runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts and six walks.

REL Inc.-MT 000 000 — 0 1 1

SNB-Stanton 110 134 — 10 10 0

REL Inc.-MT 6, Garnet Garage-Subway 5

In the second semifinal game, REL Inc.-MT rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the fifth to win 6-5.

Garnet Garage-Subway squandered an early lead as REL Inc.-MT managed five runs in the fifth on five hits for a 6-5 lead.

Garnet Garage-Subway had a chance to tie in the seventh with runners on second and third with one out. Sam Kariniemi escaped the jam with two strikeouts and punch REL Inc.-MT’s ticket to the championship.

Travis Pietila led off the REL Inc.-MT fifth inning with a single. Bryce Turner followed with a single. Rory Anderson doubled home Pietila. Brian Halonen reached on an error to load the bases. Alan Jurmu followed Sam Kariniemi’s flyout with a two-run single to score Turner and Anderson. Grant Johnson singled home Halonen and Jurmu.

Garnet Garage-Subway (4-6) scored three runs in the top of the second to take an early lead. Kade Farrell led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Brandon Norkol walked, Dean Jurmu singled home Farrell. Justin Norkol walked. Will Romano singled to score Norkol and Jurmu.

REL Inc.-MT didn’t even get its first hit against Farrell until the fourth inning, a single by Grant Johnson, who came around to score on a single and error.

REL Inc.-MT caught up to Farrell in the fifth. Chris Saari came in to mop up the inning and closed out REL Inc.-MT in order in the sixth.

GG-S 031 001 0 — 5 9 1

REL Inc.-MT 000 150 X — 6 8 2

SNB-Stanton 8, Dean Kangas-State Farm 0

The Wildcats kicked off Sunday’s tournament with a convincing pitching performance from Jepsen and Luoma. They combined for 15 strikeouts and gave up three hits and two walks.

Wildcats pitcher Cole Jepsen started on the mound and pitched two batters into the fourth before he exited with an elbow injury after giving up a double to Luke Paul.

Jepsen finished with nine strikeouts against 14 batters faced.

Eli Luoma relieved and threw the rest of the game. He stranded Paul at second with two strikeouts. He finished with four strikeouts and never let another State Farm runner on base after a two-out single by Carson Turner.

The Wildcats offense got off to a fast start to set the tone for the day, scoring a run in the first and stranding the bases loaded. Erik Nettell hit a three-run home run to straightaway right field to give SNB-Stanton a 5-0 lead after Kevin Bostwick scored previously on an error.

Wildcats bats were quiet until a three-run sixth. LaDuron walked, Erik Nettell singled and Luoma walked. Koskela was hit by a pitch to score a run to keep the bases loaded. With the benefit of runners stealing on a full count and two outs, Hannon singled home two runs.

Brian Juopperi, Turner and Paul had State Farm’s hits.

State Farm never advanced a runner to third base.

DK-State Farm 000 000 0 — 0 3

SNB-Stanton 140 003 X — 8

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