Gaylord, MI – June 11, 2019 – It was a blustery day for softball in Gaylord on Tuesday afternoon as the Negaunee Miners took on the Standish-Sterling Central Panthers for the right to advance to the state semi-final game. The Miners were on a roll as they entered the win-or-go-home matchup, but they knew that they had a tough road ahead of them against an equally good Standish-Sterling team.
The Panthers were the designated away team for the game, and they opened the scoring early on a solo home run by Karleigh McBride. Negaunee’s pitcher Skylar Hall looked solid in the circle, striking out the other three batters that came up in the inning, and Negaunee had their first at-bats down 1-0. There was no immediate answer from the Miners, as they went down in order, and Standish Sterling held their 1-0 lead after the first inning.
The Panthers doubled their lead in the top of the second when Taylor Krzyzaniak went yard to left center. Negaunee again was able to prevent further damage from being done, but like the first inning, couldn’t put anything on their side of the scoreboard and the teams headed to the third inning with Standish-Sterling Central leading 2-0.
The Panthers were unable to score a run in the top of the third, due in large part to the pitching of Negaunee’s Skylar Hall. Having a similarly good outing was Sterling-Standish’s Lakin Fryzel, who, through three full innings, had yet to give up a hit.
Negaunee finally put a runner on when Abby Nelson drilled a base hit to center field to break up Fryzel’s no hitter in the bottom of the fourth inning. Another base hit followed to give the Miners another runner, and then MacKenzie Karki drove in a run when she put the ball into left center field and Allison Ennett, who was pinch running for Nelson, crossed the plate. Negaunee wasn’t able to cut the deficit further, but the Panthers’ lead was halved, and the score was 2-1 heading into the top of the fifth inning.
Standish-Sterling got their bats going again in the top of the sixth, knocking two straight base hits with no outs. Skylar Hall was unfazed, however, and sent the next three batters down in order to get out of the half inning unscathed. Negaunee did their best in the bottom half, but again found themselves unable to solve the pitching of Lakin Fryzel and the game entered its final inning with Standish-Sterling leading 2-1.
Skylar Hall pitched well in the top of the seventh inning, not allowing any runs and giving the Miners a chance to at least tie the game in the bottom half. Negaunee’s first batter in the inning, Peyton Drew, was walked to put a runner on with no outs. Sierra Hendrickson came into the game to pinch run for Drew, but was left stranded after two quick outs sealed the 2-1 victory for Standish-Sterling Central.