Twilight: Coldwell Banker wins playoff opener, 8-1

Tops Northern Driveline to reach semifinals

Craig Heinonen Coldwell Banker’s Brady Turner bats against Northern Driveline during the Twilight League opener Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, at Driving Park in Hancock, Mich. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — Craig Heinonen Coldwell Banker posted an eight-run inning against Northern Driveline and never looked back in an 8-1 win in the opener of the Twilight League playoffs on Tuesday night at Driving Park.

With the win, Coldwell Banker advances to the semifinals Sunday, Aug. 21 at the Houghton High School baseball field. With the loss, Northern Driveline’s season came to an end at 5-8.

Except for the fifth inning, Tuesday’s playoff game was Northern Driveline’s to win. After a scoreless two innings, Northern notched their one and only run of the night when centerfielder Justin Heinonen led off with a double and scored a double by Brent Loukus.

Despite little run support, Northern Driveline starting pitcher Chad Nordstrom didn’t allow Coldwell Banker much. He threw a perfect game through the first four innings. Through the first 12 batters, Nordstrom had five strikeouts and no walks.

Then came the fifth.

“He pitched exceptionally well. If you take away the fifth, he had a no-hitter on the night,” said Northern Driveline’s player-manager Evan Larson of Nordstrom. “We didn’t give him nearly enough run support, and that was disappointing.”

In the fifth, Coldwell Banker’s catcher Carson Turner was the man of the hour. Not only did he start the inning by breaking up the perfect game and scoring his first team’s first run to tie the game, but he also came back to the plate nine batters later and stroked a grand slam over the right center field fence.

“That was sweet,” said Coldwell Banker player-manager Ross Kinnunen. “In fact, that was our (team’s) first home run hit all season-perfect timing for us.”

In between Carson Turner’s game-winning heroics at the plate, Coldwell Banker won this one with hit after hit. The hit parade included a double by Malcolm Purdy and bloop single to right by Kinnunen. Add a walk and a hit -by-pitch to the mix, and Coldwell Banker was up 4-1 with bases loaded and Carson Turner stepping up to the plate.

“It was pretty clean baseball tonight on both sides of the diamond,” Kinnunen said. “Errors did not make a difference in this one.”

Also key to victory was Coldwell Banker’s winning pitcher Brady Turner.

“Brady pitched really well,” said Kinnunen. “He threw strikes, and we backed him up.”

With a seven-run cushion, Brady Turner was able to keep Coldwell Banker’s momentum going and earn the complete-game win at 8-1.

“We left too many runners on base in every inning,” Larson said of the loss. “The fifth (inning) knocked the wind out of our sails, and we just weren’t able to recover.”

Twilight playoffs

The stage is now set for the Twilight League’s championship series which is slated for Sunday at the Houghton High School ball field. The opening semifinal game at 11 a.m. features No. 1 seed Garnet Garage vs. No. 4 seed Coldwell Banker.

No. 2 seed Houghton Building Supply-Stanton faces No. 3 seed REL-Mohawk Technology in the other semifinal game at 1:30 p.m.

The semifinal winners play in the championship game after the second semifinal game, at approximately 4 p.m.


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