Negaunee Oldtimers going for 2 wins in 2 days

Andy Dellangelo of the Negaunee Oldtimers softball team smiles while practicing his batting swings on Thursday during the game he pitched and hit a three-run homer against Gwinn. (Photo courtesy Roland Koski)

NEGAUNEE — NBA players are known to object to games on back-to-back days, but how will the Negaunee Oldtimers softball players react to games Thursday and tonight?

These guys, all at least 62 years old, should at least be in a good mood after a late rally earned them a 10-5 win over Gwinn at LaCombe Field in Negaunee on Thursday.

Negaunee gets back on the field at 5 p.m. today for a game against Marquette at Hurley Field in Marquette.

Negaunee lost a pair of close decisions to each of these opponents during the past two weeks, falling to Gwinn 8-7 on July 27 and to Marquette 7-6 on Aug. 3.

Negaunee got in one revenge win on Thursday with a six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning that snapped a 4-4 tie.

Gary Suardini

Andy Dellangelo was not only the winning pitcher, but started the late scoring deluge with a two-run homer over the left-centerfield fence, according to a report from Negaunee’s Roland “Foo” Koski.

Later in the sixth, Negaunee’s Fred Van Luven doubled before Steve Parkkonen, Dave Savolainen and Don Trudell added run-scoring singles. Trudell’s hit was actually a two-run knock.

Dellangelo made his debut on the pitching rubber for the Negaunee Oldtimers.

“It’s been a good experience, but I was nervous at the beginning, walking the first batter on four pitches,” he said. “I’m out to win and try my hardest.

“The camaraderie is awesome meeting Gwinn players that I’ve played against years ago.”

Dellangelo and his battery-mate, Van Luven at catcher, went the distance for Negaunee.

Gwinn had the game’s leading hitters, Jerry Suardini and Gary Rautio, each of whom went 3 for 3. Five players had multiple hits for the winners, though.

“Competitiveness is really lots of fun and seeing old faces brings back memories from years ago,” Suardini said. “It’s still fun to compete, win or lose makes no difference, as long as you had fun and everyone comes out healthy.”

Up next:

Negaunee at Marquette, Hurley Field, 5 p.m. today

Negaunee opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning. After an error, Gerry Pirkola hit an RBI triple and Dellangelo got a sacrifice fly.

Gwinn scored three times over the next three innings to take a 3-2 lead. In the second, the visitors got an unearned run after an error and singles by Suardini and Rautio, then added two in the fourth on a walk, two-out error and RBI singles by Dennis Erickson and Suardini.

Gwinn’s lead would’ve been bigger, but a perfect relay to the plate nailed Erickson for the final out of the fourth.

After Negaunee tied it 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth, each team scored once in the fifth. For Gwinn, Rautio singled and Dan Fleury knocked him in with a double, while for Negaunee, Mike Nelson singled, which was followed by an error and two-out RBI single by Don Williams.

After the home team’s big sixth-inning rally, Gwinn got one back but needed five more in the top of the seventh. The run came home after consecutive hits by Dave Derwin, Suardini and Rautio.

Nelson was lauded for his excellent defense at third base for Negaunee, which leads the series with Gwinn 8-5 and Marquette 24-18.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is