IRON MOUNTAIN - Norway put away Tri-County in the fourth inning Wednesday evening at Larry Barkle Eastside Field, winning 15-5 to remain unbeaten and advance to the District 10 Little League Minor (age 9-10) championship.
The title game is set for Friday at 6 p.m. at the same field. Tri-County, dropping into the loser's bracket, has to play Iron Mountain North tonight at 6 p.m. for the right to face Norway's all-stars.
Iron Mountain North stayed alive by eliminating Escanaba 9-7 in an earlier contest Wednesday evening.
Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo
Iron Mountain’s Blake Julian puts a tag on Escanaba’s Hunter Lancour at second during Wednesday’s Little League Minor District 10 elimination game at Larry Barkle Eastside Field.
Norway jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Tri-County in the bottom of the first, only to have Tri-County answer with a five-run inning in the second. But a 10-run fourth by Norway brought on the mercy rule, as Gannon Bray ripped a game-ending double to expand Norway's lead to 10 runs.
In Norway's five-run first, Ian Gorzinski had the only RBI with a single, as wildness by Tri-County starter Lucas Kanorva allowed Norway to keep circling the bases. Wyatt Riley provided the inning's only other hit with a single up the middle.
Tri-County scored four of its five runs in the second after two were out. A single to center by Parker Maki started the scoring. Blake Krouth cleared the bases when he poked a single to left that wound up rolling all the way to the fence, and Dakota Maki singled in another run with a hit to left.
Norway scored seven of its 10 runs with two out in the bottom of the fourth. Gorzinski initially broke the tie when he sent a shot to right that wasn't caught and made it to third. A few pitches later he broke for home as Tri-County's catcher was throwing back to the mound.
Singles by Evan Anderson and Caleb Burklund set the stage for Bray, who saw both teammates score when he reached on an infield tapper. A single by Riley and walks to three straight Norway batters scored another run ahead of a blast to deep center by Anderson for a bases-clearing triple. Anderson scored when Burklund reached on a throwing error before Bray stepped to the box and ended things.
Anderson and Gorzinski worked the mound for Norway, limiting Tri-County to seven hits while striking out six. Tri-County figures to be light on pitching tonight, as Kanorva was followed by Krouth and Maki on the hill - all piling up pitches. While allowing nine hits, the trio also walked a combined 11.
Iron Mountain North, facing potential elimination ever since dropping their tournament opener to Norway 6-5, trailed 5-3 in their game against Escanaba until the fourth. An RBI groundout by Julian and run-scoring single by Ian Anderson gave IM the lead for good.
Anderson finished with three hits, including an RBI triple later in the game and single to go with his double. Michael Savarin and Blake Julian hit two singles each. Nick Saari added an RBI hit late in the game. Relief pitcher Parker Stroud earned the win. Julian, Jurgen Kleiman and Joe Dumais also pitched.
Jordan Schafer had a three-hit game for Escanaba, with two doubles. Ayden Mylander, Adam Willette and Jayger Lamarch each added two singles. Nathan Howes stroked a double.
The winner of this district is vying for a spot in the state tournament at Oak Ridge beginning July 25.