The Abby Nelson-Skylar Hall show: Negaunee Miners pitchers shut down Ishpeming in softball sweep

Negaunee’s Cassidy Orr cranks out a shot to center field off Ishpeming pitcher Tia Mattila in the third inning of their high school softball doubleheader played in Palmer on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

“It’s great having two No. 1 pitchers. They’re pretty interchangeable and they both do well.” — Randy Carlson, Negaunee head coach, on Abby Nelson and Skylar Hall

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PALMER — Uncomfortably wet and cold conditions with temperatures in the 30s in Palmer on Tuesday evening didn’t stop Abby Nelson and Skylar Hall from having great days in the pitching circle in a high school softball doubleheader.

Nelson struck out five in a 19-0, three-inning mercy-rule victory over Ishpeming in Game 1, while Hall fanned 10 and tossed a no-hitter in a 10-0 victory in Game 2 to push the Miners to 8-2 this season.

The Miners needed just three hits in the first game to reach 19 runs, with seven of those runs coming from either bases-loaded walks or hit-by-pitches, and four more from runs coming on wild pitches.

The bats came alive a little more in the second game, with Nelson getting the big hit in the bottom of the fourth inning by knocking a three-run double to left field, putting the Miners up 7-0 at the time. Negaunee sealed the deal with three more runs in the fifth while Hall struck out three Hematites hitters to end the day.

Negaunee head coach Randy Carlson said he was happy to see his team’s bats come alive in Game 2 while also capitalizing on Ishpeming’s young pitching corps.

“It was nice in the second game to actually swing the bat,” he said. “The pitchers are struggling to throw strikes and the conditions are tough. They (Ishpeming) also have some young pitchers.

“It’s hard to play when you go up there and nobody is getting a chance to swing the bat. (Ishpeming pitcher) Tia (Mattila) threw strikes the second game and we were able to go up there and hit some balls hard.”

As far as his own pitchers go, Carlson is pleased with the 1-2 combination of Nelson and Hall early in the season.

“That’s what’s great,” he said. “It’s great having two No. 1 pitchers. They’re pretty interchangeable and they both do well. Skylar had a no-hitter in the last game and she’s had three one-hitters this year, so it’s nice to see her finally finish one off.

“Like I said, the conditions were tough. We’re both here playing in it and like I told the girls, we may as well have fun and make the most of it.”

Ishpeming head coach Ben McGuire agreed with his coaching counterpart, saying that his young pitchers struggled.

“Our pitchers are really young,” he said. “It’s really important that we just get them some experience and build for the end of the year and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“I thought Tia threw pretty well the second game, we just made some mistakes behind her. We’re getting better and we’ll just continue to work away at it.”

The Miners were significantly better with their bats in Game 2, cranking out 11 hits.

Hailey Hytinen started in the circle for the Hematites (4-4) in Game 1, lasting 1 1/3 innings before being replaced by Olivia Corp after allowing the first nine runs.

Corp then allowed eight more before Hytinen came back into the game in the top of the third.

Mattila went the distance in the circle for Ishpeming in Game 2, striking out four.

Hannah Voskuhl finished with four RBIs on the day for the Miners while MacKenzie Karki had three. Nelson and Katelyn Lammi had two RBIs apiece while Payton Drew had one.

Karki also drew four walks on the day while Lammi and Cassidy Orr each had three hits.

Negaunee visits Iron Mountain tonight while Ishpeming visits Westwood on Thursday.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.