Twilight: Garnet Garage, Northern Driveline split season finale
STANTON TOWNSHIP — The Copper Country Twilight regular season wrapped up Thursday with Garnet Garage winning a previous rain-delay game against Northern Driveline from July 5, and Northern Driveline coming from behind to win 6-4 over Garnet Garage
The first game was the completion of a Garnet-Northern matchup that ended in a 3-3 tie after seven innings due to rain on July 26. Thursday’s restart began in the eighth inning and ended in the eighth inning. In short, Northern Driveline scored one and Garnet scored two due to a throwing error by Northern.
“In that last-inning makeup, Justin Heinonen (center field) made a great diving catch, threw it in but missed the cut-off man, and the ball went into the dugout allowing Garnet’s runner from second to score and walk it off. Unfortunate for us as we had the lead,” said Northern Driveline’s player-manager Evan Larson.
After a brief intermission, play resumed with Garnet Garage taking a 2-0 lead after the first frame. In the opening inning, Justin Norkel and player-manager Kevin Bostwick both got on due to infield errors by Northern. Three batters later and with two outs, they both scored on a two-RBI single.
That’s the way the score stood until bottom of the third inning. It was then that Northern was able to string a few hits together and bring Alex Nordstrom across home plate.
Garnet Garage (8-4) added two more in the top of the fourth. Will Romano led the charge with a double. Justin Norkel then walked and up stepped Bostwick who delivered with line-drive RBI up the middle scoring Romano. Justin Norkel scored on a Reed Heathman hit to make it a 4-1 contest.
Northern Driveline (6-6), however, put together a five-run punch in the sixth inning that knocked out Garnet for the count.
“Finally, in the sixth, we were able to get a hit here and there, and balls started dropping for singles,” said Larson. “It was good to put that rally together especially after the way that first game ended.”
Swinging a big bat that inning for Northern was their game-winning pitcher Alex Nordstrom who hit a base clearing two-run single scoring Austin Kinnunen and Simon Rajala.
Despite having men on base, Garnet couldn’t get them home to tie or win this one as Northern continued strong play in the field.
“We played solid defense all game and no errors,” added Larson. “We made them earn their runs at the start of the game .”
Bostwick said the loss was unfortunate, however, he gave credit to Northern for their comeback victory.
“They had that big sixth inning and that was the difference. Hats off to them. That’s baseball” he stated. “We have our minds focused now on the playoffs as that’s where it counts.”
The Twilight League playoffs begin on Tuesday, August 16 at the Driving Park. No. 4 seed Craig Heinonen Coldwell Banker will host No. 5 seed Northern Driveline. The winner of the that will play in the semifinals series Sunday, August 21 at the Houghton High School ball field.