Split decision: Gremlins, Bulldogs each earn softball wins Wednesday

Hancock’s Sydnie Scholie takes a lead off first as Houghton’s Stella Soumis keeps her close during a game Wednesday as part of a doubleheader at the Bill Givens Memorial Little League Field at the Hancock Driving Park. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — While the Houghton Gremlins softball squad slugged their way to an 8-1 win by taking an early lead and riding it over the Hancock Bulldogs in the opening game of a doubleheader on Wednesday at the Bill Givens Memorial Little League Field at the Hancock Driving Park, the Bulldogs won the second game, which was a much lower scoring affair, 2-1.

The opener started with a solo home run off the bat of Houghton’s Clea Ollenketo. That set the stage for four more runs courtesy of an error by Hancock and an RBI by starting pitcher Stella Soumis.

Soumis earned the complete-game victory. She gave up just four hits and one run in seven innings of work. Along the way, she struck out four and walked three.

“It was good to see our bats come alive in the first game,” said Gremlins coach Mel Baker. “We hit the ball well to the gaps and ran the bases with our heads up.”

She added that “game balls” went to Ollenketo and Soumis for their prowess at the plate.

Houghton’s Jacey Sleeman swings away on Wednesday during a game against Hancock as part of a doubleheader at the Bill Givens Memorial Little League Field at the Hancock Driving Park. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

“Clea hit the homer, and Stella had three RBIs,” she said.

The Gremlins added a sixth run in the second and the final two in the fourth. The Bulldogs’ one run came in the fourth and that is all they could manufacture.

Game Two was a pitching duel with the Bulldogs edging their opponent with one more run.

The Bulldogs who jumped out first with a 1-0 lead after one. In that frame, leadoff hitter Kaelyn Rouleau got on with a single to left and came home on a Sofie Freeman sacrifice bunt.

There were zeros for the next two innings. Then in the fourth, the Bulldogs posted their second run courtesy of a wild pitch that scored pitcher Sadie Biekkola. A two-run total proved to be all the Bulldogs needed, despite the fact that the Gremlins rallied for one in the sixth.

Biekkola earned the win from the circle. She went all seven innings allowing one (unearned) run, striking out two and walking none.

Romi Mattson took the loss for the Gremlins.

“Both girls pitched very well in Game Two,” said Bulldogs coach Craig Biekkola. “Hitting made the difference.”

That second-game win put the Bulldogs at 21-4 and the opening win put the Gremlins at 16-7 with less than a week to go in the regular season.

Are these two teams ready for the playoffs? Yes and no according to their coaches.

“We are getting there,” noted Baker. “We just have a few more kinks to work out.”

As for the Bulldogs, their coach wants to see his team round out all areas of the game together.

“We need to put together a complete game to be ready for the playoffs,” he said. “That would include pitching, defense and hitting.

“Our pitching and defense did well today, but we didn’t hit. We’ll keep working at it.”


The Bulldogs will travel to L’Anse Friday for a doubleheader against the Purple Hornets at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, the Gremlins will welcome the Westwood Patriots to Houghton Saturday for a 4 p.m. doubleheader.


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