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Twilight: Garnet Garage routs Coldwell Banker, 10-1

Craig Heinonen Coldwell Banker's Malcolm Purdy hits against Garnet Garage during Copper Country Twilight Baseball League action on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Houghton, Mich. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Garnet Garage scored 10 runs in the first three innings and went on to down Coldwell Banker 10-1 in Copper Country Twilight Baseball League action Tuesday night.

“Garnet is a very good team,” said Coldwell Banker’s player-manager Ross Kinnunen. “They put the ball into play, and we did not do a good job to stop it.”

Garnet’s bats got hot early in the first inning facing Coldwell’s starting pitcher Carson Turner. Garnet’s Justin Norkel ripped a double with one out. Catcher Mike Saari then walked and up stepped clean-up hitter Reed Heathman and cleanup he did.

Heathman slugged a 1-2 fastball over the fence just below the scoreboard in left center to clear the bases and set the tone with a 3-0 lead.

“Reed has been just ripping the ball all season,” said Garnet Garage player-manager Kevin Bostwick.

Coldwell Banker would counter with their only run in the second inning. It was a combo Malcolm Purdy double and a Chase Kinnunen RBI single.

The Garnet bats didn’t cool off in the second inning. Bostwick walked and would come across home on a series of errors and mis throws. Mike Saari reached first again on a fielder’s choice and up came Heathman. This time he poked a single to right field, but it turned into a “Little League” homerun as Coldwell threw the ball around missing relays and bases. The final run of the inning came with a Will Romano double off the fence in center allowing Garnet’s first baseman Chris Saari to cross home with ease.

“We gave them way too many outs in that inning, and you cannot do that with a good team like Garnet,” Kinnunen said. “They are going to take advantage of extra outs, and that’s exactly what they did tonight.”

Garnet Garage’s third inning looked a lot like the first and the second even though Coldwell put Brady Turner on the mound to try to stop the rampage. It didn’t work. The big Garnet stick swung in this frame was by Trent Keteri. With bases loaded, the right-handed slugger rocketed a triple to deep center and making it a 10-1 tilt.

“Top to bottom we were able to put together some great at bats tonight, and that made the difference,” Bostwick said.

Coy Budweg earned the win on the mound for Garnet. He pitched the first three innings giving up just one run in the second.

Coming in to relieve Budweg was righthander Carter Crouch. He pitched two scoreless innings by way of the fourth and the fifth. Then came two veteran hurlers to close out the game. Trent Kateri threw the sixth inning and Rob Brooks made his debut for the season as a faced four Coldwell batters to end the game.

“Our pitching was great,” said Bostwick. “They threw strikes, and we backed them up in the field.”

Near-perfect defense was key in Garnet’s victory. Whether it was Justin Norkel’s sweeping glove across the left side of the infield, or the three-one-combination put out on the right side of the diamond, nothing was getting past the Garnet squad.

Tuesday’s matchup was the last regular-season game for Coldwell Banker in the 2022 season. They ended the season at 5-7. Garnet will complete a rain-delayed game against Northern Driveline on Thursday immediately followed by a final matchup between those two teams.

Twilight League playoffs begin next Tuesday with the championship game being played on Sunday, Aug. 21.

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