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Prep softball: Copper Kings sweep Houghton in DH

Houghton’s Chloe Morley (12) bats against Calumet on Thursday in Calumet. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — Spring was finally in the air at Legion Field in Calumet on Thursday as the Calumet softball team hosted the Houghton Gremlins in a doubleheader.

The Copper Kings took the first game 11-5 and the second 8-5.

In game one, Calumet jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a base hit by Megan Erkilla and a missed ball by the Houghton outfield hit by Copper Kings pitcher Elli Djerf.

The Gremlins knocked in one of their own in the first and took a 3-2 lead in the second with big bats swung by Kricia Jenkins and Grace Brunet who both lined pitches into left center.

“Our bats came alive there early on, but we are still missing balls and throwing the ball around too much,” said Houghton’s head coach Mel Baker.

In the third the Copper Kings bounced back with a six-run inning.

“That was our big inning,” said Calumet head coach Joel Rastello. “I was very happy with the hitting that inning and our aggressive baserunning. The girls were forcing Houghton to throw the ball around.”

The Copper Kings got one more in the fifth as right fielder Helen Beiring got on with a hard hit grounder between third and the shortstop. She came home on a Megan Peterson single.

While the Gremlins tallied two more runs in the sixth it wouldn’t be enough.

Djerf record eight strikeouts in the complete game win for the Copper Kings.

“Elli threw another gem, and we can always count on her to get the job done,” Rastello said.

In the second game, Houghton once again took an early 5-1 lead after two innings but could not sustain it. A big Calumet sixth was their demise. The Copper Kings scored seven runs that frame and that is how the game ended 8-5.

“This one was a team victory,” said Rastello. “Erkilla played a great game in center field tracking down a bunch of balls and keeping our pitcher Taylor (Vertin) in the game.”

Baker said there was frustration in her Gremlins not being able to finish a game.

“In both of these games, we were ahead and lost it,” she said. “We need to work on bunt coverage and relays from the outfield because both those costed us too many runs.”

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