Solid pitching, key hits spark Negaunee Miners to high school softball sweep of Ishpeming

NEGAUNEE — Thanks to this uncooperative spring, it’s taken longer than expected for the Negaunee softball team to play its first home doubleheader.

But when the opportunity finally came on Wednesday, the Miners took full advantage.

Negaunee improved to 9-10 by using strong pitching and a few key hits to sweep Ishpeming, 9-4 and 8-3, at LaCombe Field.

“We played two good games,” Miners head coach Randy Carlson said. “We had our freshman pitcher (Skylar Hall) pitch the last three innings of the second game and she did a great job keeping them scoreless.

“Overall, it was a good team effort. Lots of people contributed today.”

On the other side of the field, Ishpeming head coach Ben McGuire wasn’t feeling the same way with offense a problem.

“Our hitting is really struggling right now and that’s bringing us down,” he said. “Before we were hitting like crazy, and now everyone seems to be in a slump. We definitely have to be more consistent.”

In Game 1, Negaunee took a 3-0 lead into the fifth, but Ishpeming rallied to tie it in the top of the inning. Then the Miners quickly untied it in its half, scoring six runs to take control.

Hailey Fezatt earned the pitching win for Negaunee, allowing seven hits while striking out nine. Ishpeming’s Emma Bleau took the loss in a nine-hit, 10-strikeout outing.

Offensively, the Miners were led by Hannah Voskuhl, who had two doubles, while Abby Nelson had two hits and Kelsi Cox had a pinch-hit two-run triple. For Ishpeming, Bleau had two doubles and an RBI, while Emily Quayle went 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored.

In the second game, Negaunee again took the early lead with two runs in the bottom of the first, but Ishpeming rallied for three in the fourth to take its only lead all day, 3-2. It was shortlived, however, after the Miners busted loose for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to break the game open, then scored another in the sixth for insurance.

Malorie Munson earned the win in the pitching circle after holding the Hematites to two hits in four innings of work, while Ishpeming’s Kayla Kaukola was dealt the loss. Fezatt and Lexi Peterson each had two hits for Negaunee, while Bleau had three for the Hematites and Willow LaChappelle went 1 for 3 with an RBI.

Negaunee hosts Gladstone today, while Ishpeming plays in a tournament in Alpena on Saturday.

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Houghton 13-7, L’Anse 2-11

At Aura, the Purple Hornets earned a split of the doubleheader after Lauren Gabe went 3 for 3 with a walk and three RBIs.

In the second inning, Erika Tollefson fouled off a number of pitches from Houghton hurler Josie Connors before snaring a two-run single to begin a six-run rally that put L’Anse on top 6-4.

Josie Rice got the pitching victory, racking up seven strikeouts and just two walks while hurling all seven innings.

Connors, a freshman, stymied the Hornets in the opener, though, as she struck out four and walked just one over six innings in 85 pitches.

L’Anse is back in action at 4 p.m. today when they host Jeffers in a doubleheader.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg with contributions from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette. Stieg’s email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.