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Coldwell Banker-Craig Heinonen advances to Superiorland Baseball League title game

CHANNING — The topsy-turvy playoffs in the Superiorland Baseball League continued Monday when No. 4-seeded Coldwell Banker-Craig Heinonen defeated the regular-season champion Channing Railroaders in the semifinals 10-7 in the northern Dickinson County community.

CBCH faces the Escanaba Polecats at 6:30 p.m. Monday for the playoff championship in a seven-inning game at the Forsyth Township Ball Park in Gwinn.

Though the Polecats were seeded second in the playoffs, the team they defeated in their semifinal, the Marquette County Mavericks, had won the playoff title in the league’s first three years.

For this year’s championship game, this will be both teams’ first appearance as this is Esky’s inaugural year in the league.

In the regular season, Channing not only won, but went undefeated while adding a title at the Leo Durocher Tournament held near Houghton. The Railroaders had played in the playoff championship each year, too, until now.

The playoff champion will also have the opportunity to play in the Upper Peninsula Baseball Championship game against the top team from the Copper Country-based Twilight League. In past years, that game has been played in September.

On Monday, Channing got off to a fast start with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, all coming after two were out.

But the Marquette County-based team answered quickly, putting up seven runs in the second for a 7-4 lead. Paul Storm and Jeremy Rae singled to bring the first run home, then after an out, Coldwell strung together seven straight singles to complete the rally. That was when Channing replaced starting pitcher Kyle Sexton with Tyler Miller, who went the rest of the way.

Though Channing put two baserunners aboard in the bottom of the second, the Railroaders didn’t score. But they persevered, scoring three in the third to tie it 7-7.

Channing again threatened to score in the fourth, loading the bases with one out before CBCH relief pitcher Gavin Locke got the final two outs. He had taken over to begin that inning for starter Owen Kariniemi.

That seemed to inspire the Coldwell, which scored single runs in the final three innings to get the victory.

In the fifth, Rae and Kirby Frantti walked and Gabe Daavettila singled to load the bases before Kariniemi hit a sacrifice fly to center field. In the sixth, Steve Daavettila singled and stole second, Storm walked and Rae hit an RBI single. And in the seventh, Kariniemi scored on an infield error.

Locke didn’t give up a run in his four innings on the mound to get the win, while Kariniemi allowed seven runs in his three innings.

While CBCH fielders didn’t commit an error, all nine batters had at least one hit, with Storm, Rae, Gabe Daavettila and Steve Daavettila getting two apiece. Rae and Kariniemi each had two RBIs while Rae, Kariniemi and Steve Daavettila score two runs apiece.

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

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