Soundtrack of spring: Gremlins fall to Jets as baseball begins

Jeffers’ Andrew Kilpela (8) prepares to take his lead off first while Houghton’s Eli Heathman (9) holds him on during a game Monday in Houghton. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — It was opening day for the Houghton Gremlins baseball team Monday as they welcomed the Jeffers Jets (2-1) to their home field. Despite a valiant last-inning comeback to tie the game in the sixth by the Gremlins, the Jets won the game in the eighth, 4-3.

While this was Houghton’s (0-1) first game of the new season, the Jets had already split a series against the Negaunee Miners a week ago.

If Monday’s game was anything of an indication of the high school season ahead, it should be a strong, well-played season, as noted by both coaches.

“I was really pleased with today,” said Jets coach Luke Paul. “It was good baseball.”

Gremlins coach Kevin Bostwick echoed a similar sentiment.

“I was impressed with the effort and the fight for a first game,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Both coaches added that pitching was key. Cody Turner was the starter for the Jets, and Bryce Pugh took to the hill for the Gremlins.

Both threw strikes – much to the appreciation of their coaches.

The Jets got on the board first in the top of the second. Shortstop Levi Frahm walked and scored on a hard hit ball by the Jets’ first baseman Luis Larson.

It stayed at 1-0 until the fourth when Frahm crossed home again, this time on a hard hit ball by outfielder Chase Kinnunen that got past the Gremlins’ third baseman Henry Switzer.

The Jets continued to play well and were just three outs away from a shutout win when the Gremlins posted two to tie things up in the bottom of the sixth.

“I really liked our grit and effort our guys put up there at the end,” Bostwick added.

In that do-or-die frame for the Gremlins, third baseman Eli Heathman got the rally going with a base hit. Pugh was then hit by a pitch, and they both scored on a Hudson Markham double.

The Jeffers nine, however, had another trick up their sleeve. With two outs, Cody Turner hit a single up the middle and eventually make his way home for the go ahead run at 3-2.

That 3-2 lead for the Jets did not last long. In the bottom of the seventh, back-to-back walks and a base hit loaded the bases for the Gremlins and Turner walked in the tying run. Paul put in his other ace, Frahm, and he stopped the bleeding with the score now tied at three.

In the top of the eighth, the Jets were able to put runners at first and third and Turner redeemed himself with a game-winning RBI double.

Frahm struck out all three batters in the bottom of the eighth to earn the win.

“I liked out defense,” Paul said. “If the defense does their job, then we will win games.”


The Jets will travel to Norway today for a doubleheader against the Knights. The Gremlins will travel to Kingsford to face the Flivvers on Friday.


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