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Crush defeats SNB 12-2 for fastpich championship

Crush pitcher Emily Vokela throws against Superior National Bank in the Copper Country Women’s Fastpitch League championship Monday, August 2, 2021, in Lake Linden, Mich. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

LAKE LINDEN — The Holly McCullah Memorial Trophy isn’t going anywhere.

For the second year in a row, the ladies of Crush raised it high as they won the Copper Country Women’s Fastpitch League title game at the Boneyard on Monday. In just five innings they earned a 12-2 victory over Superior National Bank.

The Crush also won it all in 2019. There was no 2020 season because of the pandemic.

The Crush squad consists mainly of high-school softball players and graduates from Lake Linden and Calumet high schools. Many of them are on Crush’s travel team as well.

“This is a great team,” said Crush manager Curtis Kinnunen. “These girls are like a little family throughout the season.”

Crush defeated the Tervo Agency 15-5 to reach the championship finals a week ago, and SNB put away JB’s Sales and Services 7-6 to earn their spot in Monday’s game.

Putting the ball in play and doing so with hard-hit balls was Crush’s game plan from the start. Neither team got anything going in the first inning. SNB laid a goose egg in the top of the second while Crush posted five runs in their bottom frame while they went through their lineup.

Mackenzie LePage and Ashlee Johnson started that inning off with base raps. They scored on a misplayed ball to second hit by Kara Kinnunen. Two more runs came in three batters later when Sarah Audette drilled a double to left center. She would cross home on a double by Crush’s starting pitcher Emily Jokela. After two innings, Crush led 5-0.

The sluggers would add another five in the third. Rye Johnson started that inning off with a walk from SNB pitcher Vera Peterson. Ashlee Johnson did the same. Kinnunen then stepped up with a single up the middle that cleared the bases. Olivia Shank walked and loaded the bases for Krysten Codere. She came through with a single and two RBIs.

“I was surprised at how well we hit the ball, added coach Kinnunen. “As well the girls run the bases well. They played heads up softball today.”

In the top of the fourth, the bats of SNB came alive. Maddie Johnson reached first on a third- base error. Ashley Lehto then singled. They advanced to second and third on a ground out to second. Janie Berg knocked them in with a single to left, and with two runs in, that is where the scoring ended for SNB.

With a score of 10-2 Crush came to bat in the bottom of the fifth. After a hit by pitch and a walk, Jokela cleared the bases with an RBI double, and the 10-run mercy rule went into effect to end the championship bout.

Jokela would get the win for Crush as she pitched five innings and had nine strikeouts.

“She was throwing some heat today,” said her coach.

While SNB had some errors, their player-coach Kim Aho said Crush won that game fair and square.

“They hit the ball hard,” she said. “While we did have some throwing errors, they out-hit us for sure.”

SNB 000 20 — 2

Crush 055 02 — 12

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