Leading the way: Negaunee Miners land 7 with team, including 2 top awards, in West PAC softball

Negaunee pitcher Grace Nardi delivers to the plate during a high school softball game at Houghton on May 22. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

GWINN — The conference champion and MHSAA regional tournament-bound Negaunee Miners carted off both the most in numbers and most in significance of honors when West PAC softball coaches voted on their awards recently.

The Miners are playing in the Division 3 regional tournament on Saturday in downstate Elk Rapids, needing two wins to reach the quarterfinals next week.

Negaunee earned two of the league’s three “special” awards — junior Grace Nardi was named Pitcher of the Year while Randy Carlson earned Coach of the Year.

The other West PAC honor went to Houghton senior Grace Brunet as Player of the Year.

Both Nardi and Brunet are pitchers who play other positions in the field when they’re not on the rubber, second base and center field for Nardi and usually third base for Brunet, according to Carlson.

Negaunee pitcher Grace Nardi winds up for a throw as Miners' first baseman Kallen Schultz watches in an MHSAA Division 3 regional tournament softball game played against Kalkaska in Gladstone on June 11, 2022. (Journal file photo)

Nardi doubled up by also earning a spot on the league First Team, joining sophomore teammates Kallen Schultz and Theresa Anderson there.

Also for Negaunee, freshman Delaney Gladwell and senior Krista Carello won positions on the Second Team, while freshman teammate Rheana Nelson won a spot on the Honorable Mention list to make it a half-dozen Miners players earning honors, not to mention their coach.

Ishpeming and Westwood each had three players win honors, one each on the First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention.

For the Hematites, junior Payton Manninen made the First Team, sophomore Brynn Lanala the Second Team and senior Emily Morton HM.

Patriots junior Megan Marta won a spot on the First Team, junior Alexa Radcliffe on the Second Team and sophomore Taylor Jackovich a position on HM.

Ishpeming’s Payton Manninen delivers a pitch during the first game of a high school softball doubleheader against Hancock on May 11 at Barry Givens Field at the Driving Park in Hancock. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

Gwinn had one player honored, junior Maddie Arnoldussen on Honorable Mention.

Like Negaunee, Ishpeming will be playing in its regional tournament on Saturday, theirs in Division 4 at Bark River-Harris.

While the D-3 regional has a pair of Upper Peninsula teams and two from the Lower Peninsula, the D-4 regional is all-U.P.

Negaunee opens against Gladstone at 10 a.m. and with a victory would face Grayling or Elk Rapids in the finals at 2 p.m.

Ishpeming goes up against Hancock at 11 a.m. EDT, then with a win would face either Superior Central or Norway in the finale at 3 p.m.

Westwood’s Megan Marta fouls off a pitch thrown by Calumet’s Lena Myhren in the second inning of their MHSAA Division 3 district softball tournament play-in game at Legion Field in Calumet on May 30. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Daver Karnosky)


Here are the other West PAC honorees, with year and school:

First Team — Clea Ollanketo, jr., Houghton; Lena Myhren, soph., Calumet; Sadie Biekkola, soph., Hancock; Brooke Koskela, soph., Hancock

Second Team — Isabella Coppo, soph., Calumet; Brynn Arko, jr., Houghton; Ella Storm, jr., Hancock; Fayah Zapolnik, jr., Houghton; Ashley Johnson, sr., Calumet

Honorable Mention — Katy Fay, sr., Houghton; Sydnie Scholie, soph., Hancock; Helen Beiring, sr., Calumet; Ellison Powell, sr., Iron Mountain

Negaunee head coach Randy Carlson watches one of his batters in the bottom of the second inning during a high school softball game played against Marquette at LaCombe Field in Negaunee on May 5, 2022. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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