RAPID RIVER - Sometimes, a little small ball is all it takes to get the job done.
That was the case for the Marquette Senior High School softball team on Monday night, which swept Rapid River, 6-4 and 6-2.
In the second game, Marquette did all the damage it needed to do in just one half inning.
Marquette’s Karlee Huuki slides into home plate as Dominique Pavlat of Rapid River tries to apply the tag during the first inning Monday in Rapid River. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin Marietti)
"In game two, we had one bad inning," said Rockets coach George Kanyuh. "If we don't have that bad first inning and we don't make a few of the blunders we made, this is a 2-2 game and we're still playing. We were expecting the bunts, and I don't know how they got the bat on the ball, but they did and that's to their credit. That was the difference in the ball game."
The Redettes came out with a lead-off single and two bunts, combined with a few mistakes by the Rockets, to load the bases in the top of the first with no outs.
MSHS' Angela Brown followed that up with a single that resulted in two RBIs.
Courtney Finkbeiner sent a ball bouncing slowly across the infield, but Rapid River missed the throw to first and another run scored, giving Marquette the very early 3-0 lead.
Karlee Huuki of the Redettes sat in waiting at third base as a sac fly was smashed out to deep left field. Once the ball was caught, she made her move for home plate. The throw to Rockets catcher Dominique Pavlat was a moment too late, and Huuki added the fourth run of the inning. The side was retired on the next batter, but the early offensive surge would last for the extent of the game.
"Those were two good pitchers they threw at us today and we did a really good job of putting the ball in play," said Marquette coach Paul Seibert. "Overall, I'm really happy. That's a good team that we just beat twice and they're going to be gunning for us when they come back up (to Marquette)."
He added that his roster this year features a lot of speed and it really showed itself Monday.
"It's a nice luxury to have," Seibert said. "It's fun when you play small ball and it works. Good things happen when we can apply pressure the way we want to."
The Rockets pulled off four hits and two runs in the contest, but they did not come easily. Redettes pitcher Morgan Seibert was at the top of her game Monday night, pitching the duration of the game and finishing with 10 strikeouts.
Brown and Courtney LaFreniere of Marquette both went two for four from the batter's box. Brown had a double and two RBIs, while LaFreniere scored a run and had two steals.
"The bottom line is, they played better today than us," said Kanyuh. "We continue to be a work in progress."
Neena Brockway received the loss for the Rockets in game two, as was the case for Savannah Stenlund in game one.
Rapid River claimed a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning of the first game, but a late push by Marquette in addition to a few simple errors by the Rockets allowed the Redettes to seize the momentum and the sweep.
The Rockets resume today, hosting the Gladstone Braves. Marquette hosts Negaunee Wednesday.