Double the disappointment: Miners’ softball sweeps Gremlins, Bulldogs Wednesday

Hancock’s Alice Larson gets her signal before stepping into the batter’s box in a game against Negaunee Wednesday at the Bill Givens Memorial Little League Field at the Hancock Driving Park. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — The conditions on Wednesday afternoon at the Hancock Driving Park were more conducive to a top-notch kite-flying contest as opposed to high school softball. The saving grace was that it was not too cold.

Through it all, the Negaunee Miners (26-6) came to town and swept the Houghton Gremlins first with a 2-1 score and then posted a 9-2 win over the Hancock Bulldogs.

“Conditions were awful, but the girls kept their focus,” said Negaunee coach Randy Carlson. “That was key in both of these.”


Game One between the Miners and the Gremlins was a pitching duel which pitted Negaunee’s Grace Nardi versus Houghton’s Stella Soumis.

Hancock’s Mallory Sporalski works the plate in an at-bat against Negaunee Wednesday at the Bill Givens Memorial Little League Field at the Hancock Driving Park. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

Both hurlers threw shutout ball through four innings. In the bottom of the fifth, the Miners’ Maya Fredrickson blasted a solo home run to put the Miners on the board.

The Gremlins (19-9), however, countered in the sixth, courtesy of Lexi Burns. She doubled and knocked in Kenzi Collard. The game was tied, 1-1, with one inning to go.

While the Gremlins went down one, two, three, the Miners were able to get something started as Kalleen Schultz got a hit and advanced to third with one out. Megan Marker then stepped up to the plate and put a grounder in play that scored Schultz in walk-off fashion.

“I was glad we could scratch out a run in that last inning,” noted Carlson.

Nardi earned the win by going the distance and striking out 18 and walking three. Soumis suffered the loss. She struck out eight and walked none.

“Stella threw very well,” said her coach, Mel Baker. “As well our fielding was excellent. It was a well-played game overall.”


Game Two was a continuation of a game started between Negaunee and Hancock (23-5) on Tuesday that lasted just one inning and was suspended by rain. However, the Miners were up 4-0 to start this one on Wednesday and added two more to make it a 6-0 game after one.

Carlson credited strong pitching as a key to success.

“We had two young pitchers throw, and they threw well,” he said.

Those two hurlers were Ainsley Brunette and Marker. Both pitched three innings. Brunette struck out five along the way and walked five while Marker struck out two while walking just one.

Hancock scored once in the second and again in the fifth, but the Miners already had nine runs in the books.

“We fell behind early and made mistakes that they capitalized on,” noted coach Craig Biekkola. “You can’t do that against a team as fundamentally sound as Negaunee.”

He added that the Miners’ bats came alive, and the Bulldogs didn’t.

“We’ve been struggling offensively this past week,” he said. “We are not hitting the ball well or putting together any rallies. We are making the game way too easy on the other team’s pitcher and defense.”


The Bulldogs are hoping to schedule one more game next week before the start of the playoffs. Who that is, and when it will be, is to be determined. The Gremlins meanwhile will play Ishpeming on Tuesday to wrap up their season.


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