Dominant at times: Ishpeming Hematites, Westwood Patriots each grab an early lead for split of softball twinbill
“Westwood’s a very good team so … I was very happy to keep them in check for one game.” — Ben McG
NATIONAL MINE — Ishpeming and Westwood each dominated from the start in a game to earn a split in their makeup softball doubleheader on Wednesday evening.
The Hematites took the first game 7-2 over their neighboring rival before the Patriots struck back with a 13-3 win in the nightcap.
It was all Hematites early in the first game, with Ishpeming racking up a run in each of the first three innings to support winning pitcher Emma Bleau, who only allowed four hits through seven innings.
Westwood struck twice with a home run in the second inning by Elizabeth Farley and a run scored by Megan Pohlman in the fifth, but Ishpeming’s offense was too strong for the Patriots.
The Hematites’ Tia Mattila hit a home run, while teammates Korey Kaukola and Willow LaChapelle each crossed the plate and Emily Quayle collected three hits.
“We hit the ball well to back up good pitching,” Ishpeming head coach Ben McGuire said. “Emma had three pitches working well all of the game and was hitting her spots to keep (Westwood) guessing.”
Westwood head coach Heather Salmi said her team needed a few plate appearances to warm up.
“We started off very slow,” Salmi said. “We were giving up too many unearned runs, and we just couldn’t get to their pitcher. It took us a few too many at-bats to get going.”
But Westwood had a strong response in Game 2, scoring three runs in the second inning to take an early lead.
Ishpeming would tie the game in the top of the fourth, but the Patriots responded in bottom half of the inning, getting to Bleau for five runs to take a commanding lead.
Westwood continued to surge into the fifth with five runs, four scored on wild pitches, to invoke the mercy rule.
“The girls got a little more confident in the batter’s box,” Salmi said. “We were timing our pitches better and earned some good hits, and things just kept rolling.”
Freshman Madelyn Koski was the first to cross the plate in the fifth to start their game-ending rally, one of two runs she would score.
Autumn Lofgren crossed the plate three times for the Patriots as Pohlman pitched all five innings for Westwood, giving up three runs on four hits.
McGuire said the Patriots kept building momentum to put the game out of reach.
“Westwood’s bats came alive,” McGuire said. “When they started hitting, they were playing like crazy.
“Westwood’s a very good team so I wasn’t surprised, but I was very happy to keep them in check for one game.”
Salmi said despite the split, her team is continuing to grow.
“We need to make sure we are talking more on defense and everyone is aware of where the play needs to be,” Salmi said. “Offensively we need to have a little more confidence and bring it to the plate early and often.”
Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.