Negaunee, MI – June 8th, 2019 – The Negaunee Miners Softball team will continue its great season on to the state quarterfinals after taking home their second consecutive Regional Championship after defeating the Gladstone Braves 15-0 in four innings. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call from LaCombe Field in Negaunee on Fox Sports Marquette 105.1 and 99.9FM.
The Braves took the field first, and it didn’t take too long for starting pitcher Andie Balenger to get going. Negaunee sent up three batters to the plate, and all three were dispatched by Balenger quickly. The Miners pitcher Skylar Hall came out firing as well, when she mowed down Gladstone’s three batters. After one inning, not a single base runner would reach.
In the top of the second, the Miners would get the first hit of the game as Payton Drew hit a single into center-field. After a fielder’s choice got Drew to second base, Mykenna Kontio hit an RBI single to send Drew home and give the Miners an early 1-0 lead. Negaunee’s bats continued to stay hot as Larissa Anderson would hit an RBI single to score Kontio, and the Miners led 2-0 in the top of the second inning. The good inning for Negaunee would continue as Hannah Voskuhl hit a pop-up off of the glove of Gladstone shortstop Sydney Herioux that would drop and two runs would score to give the Miners a four run advantage. Abby Nelson continued the run as her RBI double scored Voskuhl, and Negaunee would take a 5-0 lead after an impressive half-inning.
Gladstone would make things interesting in their half of the second, as a bunt would make it runners on first and second with only one out. After a strikeout and a walk, that set up bases loaded with two outs for Olivia Wetthuhn, and the Miners got her to pop-out and get out of the jam.
Negaunee continued its momentum in the top of the third inning, as Drew led off the inning with a bloop single, and MacKenzie Karki would step up next with a bunt. After a sacrifice bunt by Kontio to advance the runners, Morgan Carlson would find a patch of grass for her ball to drop, the lead was now up to 6-0. While the Braves attempted to throw out pinch-runner Sierra Hendrickson on the steal attempt at second base, Karki would score from third base, and the Miners were now up by seven runs.
Hall continued to do her thing for the Miners, as she was giving the Braves hitters problems. With another three up, three down inning, the Miners had the game in control with a 7-0 lead after three complete innings.
For the Miners, Payton Drew continued her good day with a stand-up double off the wall that scored two runs, Negaunee now led 9-0 in this big game. After a base hit and a wild pitch, Drew crossed the plate and that gave the Miners a double digit in the top of the fourth inning. Carlson got her second hit of the game with a near home run that would only result in a double, but another run would score. Balenger’s afternoon was now done, as the Braves brought in Morgan Letteriello to take on the pitching duties. Pinch hitter Kaylee Duncan would be substituted in for the Miners, and she came up big with a two RBI bloop single. Nelson continued her strong day with another pair of RBIs, and Negaunee now took a commanding 15-0 lead. After three and half innings, the Miners led 15-0, and they were three outs away from a mercy rule victory.
The Braves came up and tried to extend the game, but Hall was on fire pitching. Negaunee defeated Gladstone 15-0, and the Miners were Regional champions! Negaunee will travel to Gaylord on Tuesday to compete in the state quarterfinals against Standish-Sterling Central.