NORWAY - Norway's Little League junior all-stars used a seven-run third inning to build a lead it never lost on its way to an 11-7 victory over Kingsford Monday evening at Marion Park in the District 10 final.
Ron Deuter/The Daily News Photo
Norway’s Dane Vandenheuvel slides in safe at home under the tag of Kingsford pitcher Darren Wood following a wild pitch in the second inning Monday evening at Marion Park.
Norway, winning the first and third games of the three-game series, will host sectional play beginning Friday. Norway faces the winner of District 11, Portage Lake, at 5:30 p.m. The winner of the game plays the District 13 champion, Petoskey, Saturday at 10 a.m.
"I think we have the potential to make a pretty good run," Norway manager Jim Bal said. "This team has been to two state championships (at lower levels), so I would think so.
"We can hit with anybody."
Monday's contest was tied 1-1 when Norway broke through in the third, scoring five of their seven runs with two outs.
Hunter Kaldor busted the 1-1 tie with a RBI double to left. Joe Murvich lifted a sacrifice fly to left for another run. Connor Ortman punched a run-scoring single through the left side.
After Dane VanDenHeuvel scored on a wild pitch, Bob Kleiman drove in two with a single to left. Another run came in on an infield single by Dylan Neuens.
Kingsford responded in its half of the third, taking advantage of two Norway errors to plate four runs. Darren Wood provided the big stroke of the frame with a two-run single to right- center, and Andy Barker brought in another with a fielder's choice.
"Give Kingsford credit," Bal said. "They battled back, hit the ball well."
The game went scoreless for the next two innings before Norway threw a three-spot on the board in the sixth. Kaldor drove a deep home run over the fence in left for two runs ahead of a RBI single by VanDenHeuvel.
Barker answered Kaldor's drive with a solo shot of his own in Kingsford's half of the sixth. And Aden Johnston doubled in another Kingsford run, but it wasn't enough to catch Norway.
Both teams got on the board with single tallies in the second inning. For Norway, Murvich, who wasn't even sure if he'd make the game after attending hockey camp downstate, ripped a triple to center and scored on a groundout by VanDenHeuvel.
"Big game from Joe Murvich," Bal said. "Especially with all that traveling he's been doing. He was huge."
Wood singled in John Fayas for Kingsford's first run after Fayas had doubled.
Marcus Maraccini started for Kingsford, giving way to Wood and Johnston before re-taking the mound late in the game.
Bryce Broden started for Norway and handed the ball over Bob Kleiman in the third. Kleiman went the rest of the way to preserve Norway's victory.
"Bryce gave us a good three innings," Bal said. Overall we got good pitching."