Champions crowned at home
Negaunee tops Ishpeming to win District 11 Minors title
By RYAN SPITZA
For the Mining Journal
NEGAUNEE — Tristan Miller delivered a double over the head of Ishpeming center fielder Carter Krook in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Negaunee the lead for good in the District 11 Little League Minors championship game Friday night.
Negaunee prevailed 7-6 in a back-and-forth thriller to take the title at Bernie Rivers Memorial Field.
“We knew Ishpeming was going to be a tough team and we just kept edging them every inning,” said Negaunee manager Jeff Martin.
“We came through in the end.”
Negaunee got things started in the bottom of the first inning when Hank Tincknell lined a ball to left field scoring Ty Jacobson to take the early 1-0 lead.
Ishpeming answered the very next inning when Carter LaCosse hit a double to center field, bringing home Cam Mahaffey. LaCosse then scored from second on an overthrow to first base off of a Jenna Maki hit to take the lead 2-1.
Negaunee would counter in the third inning when Bryce Granato came home on a wild pitch and Tincknell lined another ball to the outfield, this time to center, giving Negaunee a 3-2 lead.
The game was tied 4-4 until the bottom of the fifth when Miller delivered his clutch hit to center to give Negaunee a one-run lead. Two more runs came home that inning off of another double from Jayce Patron, which scored Miller and Patron scored on an error at first base to give Negaunee a 7-4 advantage.
“The double felt great,” Miller said.
“Jayce cranked one into the outfield and got me home. Big props to him.”
Ishpeming wasn’t done yet though. Ethan Corp came home on a wild pitch and Maki drove a double to left field, scoring Preston Argall to pull within one.
Negaunee’s Aiden Steele remained strong on the mound though as he notched one final strikeout to end the game and clinch the championship.
Ishpeming manager Greg Maki said he’s proud of his team’s run throughout the tournament.
“I actually came down as a majors coach and didn’t know any of these kids,” he said. “I had to learn all the names and I wasn’t familiar with what anybody did. We came together over these last six weeks.”
Maki also kept his spirit and sportsmanship high, tipping his cap to both sides.
“Congratulations to Negaunee, they played well and congratulations to all of my kids,” he said. “We’ll get them next year.”
Up next for Negaunee is the state tournament in downstate Taylor beginning on Thursday, July 27.
Martin believe his team has the ability to get the job done.
“I’m very proud of these boys,” Martin said. “We’ve got a good group of talented kids and their hearts are definitely in it.”