NEGAUNEE – The Negaunee Explosion Junior League softball team lived up to its name Tuesday night as it swept the Baraga Nitro in a best-of-three series to win a two-team district title.
Negaunee won the opener 13-0 and scored 14 runs in the second inning during the nightcap en route to a 21-8 victory in games played in Negaunee Township. Both games finished in five innings and the Explosion’s Karlie Patron picked up both wins in the circle.
“This is just awesome and it’s been a good season,” Negaunee head coach Rich Karki said. “Everybody was right on top of the ball today and it was pretty impressive. You can’t single anybody out because everybody was crushing it. We’re undefeated, but I haven’t seen us hit like that this year. It was a good time for everybody to step up and start hitting the ball.”
Up 5-0 in the first game going into the fourth inning, Negaunee took control of the contest from there. The Explosion scored six runs in the frame, highlighted by a two-run triple by Payton Drew and a RBI single by Alexis Hill. Negaunee then finished off the win in the top of the fifth on an RBI base hit by Abby Nelson and RBI triple by Drew.
In the second game, the Explosion’s bats continued to stay hot with seven runs in the first inning. The first two came on a two-run homer by Hannah Voskuhl, while Patron hit an RBI triple and Drew drove home two runs with a double.
Negaunee put the game away early in the top of the second with its 14-run eruption to go up 21-0. The highlights of the impressive showing were a two-run double by Nelson along with two-run singles by Drew and Jessica Poole.
Baraga got on the scoreboard in its half of the second. Brianna Keine knocked in two runs with a single and Savannah Selden plated two more with a base hit during the frame. The Nitro pushed the contest to five innings with three more runs, but couldn’t put any more on board.
The Explosion move on to the Junior League sectional championship, which will determine a state tournament berth, to play either Gladstone or Escanaba on Saturday in Escanaba.
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal. net.