Doubling up: Gremlins softball sweeps Mountaineers Monday

Houghton pitcher Stella Soumis readies to deliver a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader against Iron Mountain Monday at the Houghton High School softball field. (Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — On an afternoon that finally felt like softball season, with nearly clear skies and temperatures in the low-to-mid 60s, the Houghton Gremlins took advantage of the warmer weather by warming up their bats en route to a sweep over the visiting Iron Mountain Mountaineers, 16-1 and 17-2.

With the wins, the Gremlins are on a four-game winning streak, and have improved to 11-6 on the season.

“It was a beautiful day to play softball,” said Gremlins coach Mel Baker. “The sunshine and 65, or whatever it was, it was beautiful. So, thankful just to be outside and no snowbanks.”

Baker said that the Mountaineers coaching staff joked about the change in weather as compared to last season.

“The Iron Mountain coach was like, ‘Last time were here, there was 6-foot snow banks all around,’ said Baker, “and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m thankful.'”

In the opener, the Gremlins had 12 hits, 12 RBI, and 16 runs scored as a team, along with four walks in three innings of play. In the second game, they had nine hits, 11 RBI, 17 runs scored, and five walks in three innings.

Baker liked seeing her team’s bats awaken in a big way.

“The heat brought some heat in our bats, and gave us a little pop,” she said. “It was nice to see it, for sure.”

In Game One, the Gremlins opened things up early, scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the first inning, all with two outs on the board. It all started with a double by center fielder Kenzie Collard. Pitcher Stella Soumis followed with a single to left field, which scored Collard. After a Jacey Sleeman, who was playing third, single to right field, catcher Lexi Burns doubled to left, scoring Soumis and Sleeman. Right fielder Delany Salmi then singled to knock Burns home.

Designated hitter Danielle Williston singled to left to score Salmi, putting Houghton up 5-0. Left fielder Emmy Pietila then singled and shortstop Clea Ollanketo reached first on an error, scoring Pietila in the process. After first baseman Romi Mattson walked, Collard walked. While she was at the plate, Pietila scored on a passed ball. Soumis then doubled to left field to bring in Ollanketo and Mattson.

In the second, Burns singled to third and then scored on a passed ball when Pietila was at the plate. After Pietila walked, Salmi, who reached base on a defensive error, scored on a sacrifice fly by Ollanketo, making the score 12-0 Houghton.

The Mountaineers got one run back in the top of the third when Vivian Pertusch singled to third and then scored shortly after on a defensive error that allowed Juliana Taplo to get to first base.

Houghton got back to work in the bottom half of the inning with Mattson walking to lead off and then scoring on a Collard triple. Soumis then reached on an error, which scored Collard. Burns knocked Soumis home with a single to center field. Williston capped the scoring by singling to right field, allowing Burns to score.

Every Gremlins starter scored at least one run in the game.

Soumis earned the win, striking out six and surrendering just two hits.

“I like the base running,” Baker said. “There’s a couple incidents we can still learn from, but overall, I like the improvement we’ve seen with our running.”

Ashlyn Ball took the loss for the Mountaineers striking out three and walking four while giving up 12 hits. She also had one of the two hits Iron Mountain had in the game.

Iron Mountain started the nightcap with a single from Taplo. She later scored on a defensive error that allowed Petsuch to get to first base.

Houghton responded with nine runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

Ollanketo get the rally started when she reached on a defensive error. Mattson followed with a walk. Collard was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Soumis knocked all three baserunners home with a single to center field. Sleeman singled before Salmi hit into a fielder’s choice. However, an error allowed Salmi to reach first. She continued to second before the play ended, and Soumis scored. Two batters later, Pietila sacrificed to score Salmi.

Kona Maruyama reached on an error and then scored on a line drive by Ollanketo to the center field fence. Ollanketo continued to round the bases as a defensive error allowed her to make the turn at first and second. With the ball still on its way back into the infield, she continued to round third and scored before the ball got to home plate. Houghton led 8-1 at that point.

Mattson walked and was followed on first base by Collard, who reached on an error. Soumis walked to load the bases, and Mattson scored on walk to Sleeman.

In the bottom of the second, Jada Guilbault led off with a single to center. Two batters later, she advanced to third on a double by Pietila. Ollanketo then brought both girls home with a single to center field. Mattson followed with a triple, scoring Ollanketo. Collard knocked Mattson home with a single to right field. Soumis reached on an error and then Collard scored on a sacrifice by Kia Markham. Soumis scored on a passed ball with Salmi at bat to make it 15-1 after two.

Ball knocked Taplo home with a sacrifice grounder after Taplo got on base with a lead off double in the top of the third, but that was as close as Iron Mountain could get.

In the bottom of the third, Ollanketo singled to third. Mattson then followed with an inside-the-park, two-run home run to close out the scoring.

Mattson also got the win in the pitcher’s circle, striking out six and surrendering two hits.


Houghton is off until next Monday, when they travel to face the Calumet Copper Kings.


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