Negaunee softball notches first ever regional title
Miners take down TCSF, edge Gladstone to move on to state quarterfinals
By Journal Sports Staff
CHARLEVOIX — One week after earning the first district title in program history, the Negaunee softball team topped that feat Saturday.
The Miners defeated Traverse City St. Francis 5-1 in the Division 3 regional semifinal and then sophomore pitcher Skylar Hall outdueled Gladstone’s Lexi Winling in the final to give Negaunee a 2-1 victory.
In a phone interview, Negaunee head coach Randy Carlson praised his team for its spirit and the fact it doesn’t give up.
“This is the most competitive team you can find,” he said. “They refuse to lose. If they get down a bit, somebody will pick them up.”
In the semifinal game, the Miners took an early lead by plating two runs in the top of the third. After TCSF cut its deficit to one in its half of the frame, Negaunee padded its advantage with another run in the fourth.
Holding onto a slim 3-1 lead, the Miners picked up two more runs in the seventh and starting pitcher Abby Nelson slammed the door on the Gladiators in bottom of the frame to secure the win. Nelson gave up five hits and struck out three in her outing in the circle.
Katelyn Lammi and Cassidy Orr led the Miners offensively with Lammi getting a triple and a RBI, while Orr had a double and a RBI.
In the regional final, Gladstone struck first with a RBI single from Kaitlyn Hardwick, but Negaunee answered back with a two-run single from Nelson in the third inning to take the lead. Hall then kept the Braves off the scoreboard the rest of the way to send the Miners into the state quarterfinals.
“That was a great game,” Carlson said. “We played them four times this year and it was a battle each time. Just two very solid fundamental teams that were evenly matched. It’s fun to play them.”
“Abby pitched great today and I give Skylar a lot of credit. She’s a sophomore who has pitched in some big games for us. There’s no fear in her.”
Negaunee will play Sanford Meridian Early College at noon Tuesday in Petoskey.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is email@example.com.