By BURT ANGELI
NORWAY - Norway, Rapid River and Ironwood breezed through quarterfinals in the MHSAA Division 4 District 97 softball tournament Tuesday at Marion Park.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Norway catcher Bobbi Hulce slugged her seventh home run of the season Tuesday during an MHSAA Division 4 softball district quarterfinal at Marion Park.
Ishpeming needed to work harder and longer.
The Hematites scored six runs in the final two innings to down Superior Central 6-1.
In the other quarterfinals, host Norway dispatched Stephenson 11-1 in five innings; defending district champion Rapid River ripped Munising 11-1 in five innings, and Ironwood spilled Hancock 17-2 in four innings.
In Friday's semifinals, with times to be determined, Norway takes on Rapid River and Ironwood meets Ishpeming. Title game, with a trip to the Sault Ste. Marie regional at stake, will follow the semifinals on Friday.
Quarterfinals roundup follows:
Norway 11, Stephenson 1
Catcher Bobbi Hulce stroked her seventh home run of the season and the Knights extended their winning streak to 21 games.
"We've just been playing good ball," Norway Coach Scott Conery said. "I can't say enough good things about the girls. They've been playing good defense and our offense has really been rolling.
"They're just been playing great."
Norway erupted for seven runs in the third inning to build a 10-1 cushion. Hulce's fifth over-the-fence homer of the season came in the third.
"Bobbi has been a big addition for us," said Conery, noting the freshman catcher has also been strong defensively.
Norway capitalized on six hits, including a Jacey Bal double in the third, and six Stephenson errors.
Bailey Grayvold, Rachel Conery, Ashley Zanon and Lindsey DeBernardi also singled for Norway.
Eagles pitcher Kaitlyn Miller shut out Norway in the first inning. Then the Knights got untracked.
"We've been able to overcome pitching differences whether it's slow pitchers or fast pitchers," Conery said. "All the teams are going through the same thing. There's definitely an adjustment."
Knights pitcher Ashley Zanon yielded a first-inning run, thanks to a double and the lone hit by Amelia Starzynski.
Norway will take a 26-6 overall record into the semifinals.
"Rapid River is tough," Conery said. "They're a great hitting team and Neena Brockway is a good pitcher and their ace.
"We have to play our best game. We can't make mistakes and come prepared to play right off the bat."
Rapid River 11
Dominique Pavlat started the second-inning with a home run and Kendyl Miller doubled twice to spark the Rockets.
Pavlat finished with two hits and Averi Kanyuh added a double.
Rapid River plated runs in all five innings - one in the first, two in the second, four in the third, three in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Brockway tossed a one-hitter, giving up a single to Megan McLaren in the fourth inning.
The Red Devils unloaded for five runs in the first inning, built a 7-0 advantage after two and put the game away with six runs in the third.
Pam Romans smacked three hits with a double. Kassi Huotari and Tiah Pusakulich each doubled and singled.
Kaitlyn Tollstam crossed the plate four times.
Huotari checked the Bulldogs on three hits, including doubles by Mackenzie Brunet and Olivia Rouleau, and struck out 10.
Superior Central 1
The Hematites trailed 1-0 until breaking through for three runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh.
Ishpeming's Emily Meyers doubled and Sinead Korvela singled in the sixth. Caitlyn Korvela, Meyers, Lindsay Thompson and Hailly Thompson singled in the seventh.
Caitlyn Korvela and Meyers each collected two of Ishpeming's 11 hits.
Superior Central pitcher Lindsay Richmond whiffed 11.
Hematites pitcher Sinead Korvela scattered six Superior Central singles. Vanessa Freberg scored the Cougars' run in a hit-less second inning.