Comeback tourney win
NEGAUNEE – After a heartbreaking loss Friday night against Escanaba, the North Central U.P. 10-11 Little League girls softball team won Saturday afternoon.
Down by one in the bottom of the sixth, NC rallied for two runs to defeat Georgetown 3-2.
“I don’t really know what to say,” North Central head coach Patrick Thomson said. “We knew going in that Georgetown was a tough team and I expected this kind of battle.
“The heart this team has from the central U.P., from Westwood, Ishpeming and Negaunee, is great. To go in and beat these teams from bigger towns is really gratifying.
“It shows how far we’ve come as a program and what we have ahead of us,” he added.
Georgetown struck first in the top of the opening frame. Back-to-back singles followed by an overthrow on a stolen base attempt gave the downstate squad a 1-0 lead.
Georgetown padded its lead in the top of the fourth. With two runners on, a single to right field scored a runner from second and Georgetown went up 2-0.
However, with the bases loaded and zero outs, the North Central defense came up big. Pitcher Josie Thomson picked up a key strikeout and a lineout to second base led to a double play as the runner was caught diving back to third base.
NC dodged another bullet in the top of the fifth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Georgetown, but North Central got out of the inning with a popout and back-to-back strikeouts by relief pitcher Larissa Anderson.
In the bottom of the fifth, NC got one run back.
Allie Ennett led off with a base hit and after Anderson grounded out, Ennett caught the Georgetown infield napping and made it all the way to third base.
Jillian Koski and Lilly Nelson then reached base on walks and with the bases loaded,
Katelyn Lammi drew a walk that scored Ennett and North Central was only down 2-1.
NC almost took the lead on the next at-bat as Natalie Prophet lifted a fly ball that looked like it was going to drop into center field, but the center fielder was able to make a nice catch to end the inning.
With the game on the line, North Central’s batters came through in the clutch. Ellie Miller led off the bottom of the sixth with a long double to the gap in left-center.
Mallory Leece then laid down a bunt that resulted in an overthrow to first base and Miller scored to tie the contest at 2-2. After Leece stole third, Ennett then drove in the winning run as her base hit went just under the first baseman’s glove, scoring Leece.
“Everybody on this team contributes and steps up,” Thomson said. “As a coach, there’s no better feeling than that. I know it’s a cliche, but I could not be prouder of this team right now.”
North Central plays Tecumseh at 10 a.m. today. The tourney championship game is set for 3 p.m.
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.