Miners continue hot start with sweep of Iron Mountain

Negaunee’s Alex Zampese, left, pitches against Iron Mountain’s CJ Bolo on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Iron Mountain, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Negaunee held off a late rally in the first game and romped through the second game of a doubleheader sweep against Iron Mountain on Wednesday.

The Miners (4-0) edged the Mountaineers 4-3 in the first game and won 13-5 in the nightcap.

“Played pretty clean baseball. Hitting the ball well,” Negaunee head coach Jason Siik said. “All the hard work in the offseason and preseason is paying off for these kids.”

The Mountaineers (3-4) loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth in the first game but Negaunee escaped with a strikeout.

The Miners scored three runs in the top of the first. With the bases loaded, a suicide squeeze bunt was missed and Eric Anderson scored under the tag at home plate. A throwing error to third base allowed another two runs to cross the plate.

“We definitely had some growing pains today,” Iron Mountain co-head coach Ed Felten said. “We definitely learned from them. These are games that make you better. We’re going to be better for it.”

The Miners also had strong pitching. Alex Zampese started and was relieved by Rylie Nummela and Trey Gee. They allowed a combined three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and three walks.

“I’m super proud of our pitching,” Siik said. “Starting pitching has been phenomenal, giving us innings and keeping the pitch count down. We’re off to a nice start.”

Logan Fish had an RBI single for the Miners in the fifth to score Alex Munson for the winning run.

Blake Julian and Caleb Johnson pitched for Iron Mountain. They gave up four runs on three hits with seven walks and nine strikeouts.

Bryce Pietrantonio was 3 for 3 for Iron Mountain. Caleb Evosevich-Hynes and Marcus Johnson had the other two hits.

Iron Mountain often made solid contact, but it was a day of “at ’em” balls, hard line-outs and groundouts.

“We hit the ball hard – it seemed to be at someone’s glove,” Felten said. “When they hit the ball, it seemed to be up the middle.”

In the second game, the Mountaineers were held to just three hits as Negaunee blew the doors open with an eight-run fourth.

“The boys hit the ball well. They played well in the first game,” Iron Mountain co-head coach Paul Julian said. “Us as coaches are trying to figure out how to get 20 kids involved and enjoying the game of baseball. At the same time as varsity coaches we have to work on our top nine, 10 guys to work towards something bigger and better which is our districts. They need the field time. We’re going to slow down on our substitutions and go for the wins.”

Gerald Johnson started on the mound for Negaunee and Evosevich-Hynes started for Iron Mountain.

A couple of Iron Mountain’s basketball stalwarts – Marcus Johnson and Charlie Gerhard – also pitched in the second game for the Mountaineers.

Iron Mountain is slashing .318/.469/.402 (batting average/on-base/slugging) this season. Seven Mountaineers are hitting .333 or better. The Mountaineers have seven extra-base hits through seven games.

Iron Mountain hosts Calumet today, while Negaunee visits Escanaba.