Finns, Smarty’s capture 1st NIT titles

NEGAUNEE — The Finns and Smarty’s Saloon emerged Sunday afternoon as the first champions of the new edition of the Negaunee Invitational Tournament.

With games played at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium, The Finns capped off the opening two-day weekend of the event by capturing the Class D championship with a 64-50 victory over Lake Linden-Tamarack City Blue Lakes.

This renewed version of the NIT is being run by the Negaunee High School softball program as a fundraiser for its teams. The NIT suspended operations after its 50th anniversary season in 2014.

The new NIT will hold its second weekend starting at 6 p.m. Friday for a six-team Class B and nine-team Class C, according to Miners’ softball coach and NIT tourney director Randy Carlson.

The Finns were led by Austin Berglund scoring 15 points in the final, while teammate Paul Torola had 12. Brett Poissant paced the Blue Lakes with 16 as Arthur Lyons pitched in 15.

Just before that was the women’s division championship where Smarty’s Saloon routed Cal Ball 67-33. Brigitte LaPointe led the winners with 20, while Cal Ball’s Becky Anderson had 15.

Torola was named MVP in Class D, with the all-tournament team consisting of Lyons and teammate Brandon Thompson, Austin Forbes of Dressler’s Mechanical, Jason Argall of Tino’s and Ross Kinnunen of The Finns.

Smarty’s Carsyn Osterman was named women’s MVP as teammates LaPointe and Nicole Gustafson made the all-tournament team. Joining them on the all-tourney list were Anderson and Kristy Lasanen of Cal Ball and Brooke Pasanen of Level Up.

In a late women’s game Saturday, Smarty’s upended Cal Ball 51-39 as Osterman scored 25 points and Lasanen had 19.

Saturday’s final game, a Class D encounter, saw LL-TC drop Jackson’s Pit 70-47. Thompson led the winner with 24 while Jackson’s Nick Martin had 16.

On Sunday in the winner’s bracket final in Class D, The Finns rolled past Tino’s 68-46. Torola led The Finns with 16, while Bobby Carlson paced Tino’s with 22.

Cal Ball snuck past Level Up 52-48 in a women’s contest. Anderson led the winners with 11 while Level Up’s Christine O’Daniels pumped in 17.

Back in “D,” LL-TC outscored Tino’s 79-72 as Thompson and Argall each scored 22.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is