By John Vrancic
For The Daily News
ESCANABA - It didn't take long for the Grandville Minor Girls' (age 9-10) All-Stars to gain the upper hand Wednesday as they blanked Negaunee 10-0 in five innings in a Little League state semifinal softball game at Lemerand Park.
Keith Shelton | Daily Press Photo
Negaunee pitcher Karlie Patron is late with the tag at home plate and Grandville’s Maddie Gkekas is called safe during the fifth inning Wednesday at Lemerand Park.
Grandville's Kyleigh Moll led off the first with a double to leftfield and scored the first run on Amber Mastberger's bunt single. Courtney Hardin gave the winners a 2-0 lead on a single to left, then scored the third run on an error.
"I think that set the tone for us," said Grandville manager Heidi Hardin. "It's contagious. It seems like when one girl starts hitting, the others will start."
The victory enables Grandville to face Jackson Northwest in today's title contest.
Grandville gained a four-run cushion in the third.
"They're a very, very solid team," Negaunee manager Mark Menhennick said of Grandville. "Their hitting and pitching is very good. We tried not to let their early runs set the tone."
Morgan Carlson went 2-for-2 for Negaunee, which stranded seven baserunners, including three in the fourth.
"We had several runners in scoring position, but couldn't capitalize," said Menhennick. "They kept making plays. They were flawless out there."
Karlie Patron went the distance and took the loss. She fanned 13, including six in a row in the opening two frames. and walked six.
"Karlie is as solid as they come," said Menhennick. "I'd put her on the mound any day of the week."
Negaunee committed three errors and Grandville had none.