NEGAUNEE - After making the state regionals three straight seasons but advancing no further, the Negaunee High School baseball team will be looking to reverse that trend this weekend.
The Miners (13-7) will meet the Charlevoix Rayders at noon on Saturday at Traverse City St. Francis in MHSAA Division 3 Region 17 semifinal play.
Whittemore-Prescott will face Kalkaska at 10 a.m. in the other semifinal, with the championship game set for 2 p.m.
Tyler Jandron of Negaunee pitches as the rain falls during the MHSAA Division 3 district championship game against Gladstone on Saturday in Gladstone. The Miners won 3-2 to reach Saturday’s regional tournament in Traverse City. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin Marietti)
"I like our team's chances if we come to play," NHS assistant coach James Larsen II said Thursday. "We can't take a game off or have a mental letdown, though."
NHS, which beat Pickford 14-1 in a district semifinal and then edged Gladstone 3-2 to advance to the regionals, feature Dusty Goupille and Tyler Jandron at the plate.
On the mound, the Miners sport Tony Zampese, Goupille and Jandron.
MHSAA Division 3 regionals, at
Traverse City St. Francis:
- Whittemore-Prescott vs. Kalkaska, 10 a.m.
- Negaunee vs. Charlevoix, noon
- Regional championship, 2 p.m.
"Playoff games come down to pitching," Larsen said, noting NHS has made the regionals four of the last five years. "Every regional game (in the past) came down to one or two-run decisions."
The Rayders captured their first district championship since 1988 with a 12-6 win over East Jordan. Charlevoix advanced to the district final with a 9-5 semifinal triumph over Harbor Springs.
The Rayders have set a school record for baseball victories and are ranked ninth in the Division 3 state coaches poll.
"The challenge (for us) is to play two complete back-to-back, emotional games," Larsen said. "We also haven't played a complete doubleheader all year."
He noted the Miners have some playoff experience, however.
"We have three players - Goupille, Zampese and Zak Makela - who have played all four years and made three regional appearances," Larsen said.
Editor's note: James Larsen II is a Mining Journal advertising representative.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.