4-peat: Hancock wins another district title
IRONWOOD — By the end of the day Friday, favored Hancock was celebrating its fourth straight district title.
But it was no easy path.
They got two tough tests in Ironwood Friday — first from Lake Linden-Hubbell (a 6-2 win), and then from a much-improved Gogebic Miners team.
“We worked as hard for this one as we have for any one,” Hancock coach Randy Heinonen said.
Hancock won the Division 4 District 97 championship game 7-2 thanks to a five-run second inning. But the Miners showed how far they’ve come.
“I’ll tell you what, they’ve improved so much over the last couple years,” Heinonen said. “Their pitching is really good, they’ve got some kids who can hit, too. It was never comfortable for us.”
Gogebic coach Kassi Huotari gave all the credit to her team, which received a boost from a strong freshmen class that also led to an improved Wakefield-Marenisco girls basketball season in the winter.
“I think (it’s) a lot of talent,” she said. “The girls, they’re willing to work. The freshmen coming up are really strong, all the way through the grades we’ve got a lot of girls that know how to play softball and have been for years.”
Patience Prochnow struck out six Hancock batters while taking the loss. She did well against the Bulldogs with the big second inning carrying them to the win.
Sadie Biekkola tripled and Sophie Freeman hit an inside-the-park home run for the only hits in the five-run second inning.
“(Freeman’s) our leadoff hitter and she’s getting better and better,” Heinonen said. “She’s been great for us all year.”
Biekkola is also their pitcher and she picked up the win. She has a super slow changeup and a good defense behind her.
“We’re fundamentally sound,” Heinonen said. “We play defense. And when we win games, it’s because we’re doing the right things. A lot of times when we lose we’re beating ourselves, but we played fundamental ball.”
The game was pretty even otherwise.
“We kept the energy,” Huotari said. “We saw a lot of good pitching from Patience, a lot of good hits from Corrine Cole and a lot of our freshmen girls, which is awesome. We stayed with them and had a lot of chances. Just a couple errors and not as hard of hitting as I would have liked.”