Baseball: IM sweeps Norway

Norway’s Kody Hendricks, right, tags out Iron Mountain’s Bryce Pietrantonio on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Iron Mountain, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Iron Mountain rallied late to win the first game and rolled in the second game of a doubleheader sweep over Norway on Tuesday.

Iron Mountain won the first game 9-8 in seven innings and the second game 8-4 in an abbreviated three-inning game called off by darkness.

The Mountaineers (2-2) scored in the bottom of the seventh inning when pinch-runner Jake Dumais got into a rundown between third base and home plate. He got in just ahead of the tag for the win.

Dumais stole second base as the throw sailed into centerfield. Dumais advanced to third, where the throw sailed past the base into foul territory, but Dumais was held.

A pitch in the dirt sent Dumais scampering for home plate when Norway catcher Payton Thompson gathered the ball and chased after Dumais, before throwing the ball towards third but hitting Dumais, who turned back and broke towards home plate. Dumais barely missed the tag by pitcher Parker Lasater for the winning run, sending the Mountaineers dugout into a frenzy.

“Yesterday was a good learning experience for us, positioning, substituting,” Iron Mountain co-head coach Paul Julian said. “We had some growing pains to start with. Today the kids learned, coaches learned. Kids put the bat on the ball and we played some pretty flawless defense — proud of them all. A lot of guys pitched, everybody pitched in as a team.”

CJ Bolo had a bases-loaded three RBI-double in the third inning of the first game.

Norway responded with a four-run fourth, helped with a single from Lasater and an Iron Mountain error.

Brett Turini scored the tying run in the sixth when, like Dumais, he stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Another throwing error sent the ball beyond third base.

Early baseball can be sloppy as teams knock the rust off every facet of the game. Hits and errors can lead to a truckload of runs. Iron Mountain and both opponents — Norway and Escanaba — have combined for 59 runs in four games. Iron Mountain is slightly edged on the scoring total after the first four games of the season, 31-28.

“It’s nice to be out here with four games under our belt,” Iron Mountain co-head coach Ed Felten said. “Kids are having fun. It’s not just us in a gym. Kids are starting to find their roles. The kids and the program are growing.”

The second game was called off after the third inning because of darkness.

The Knights and Mountaineers combined for 11 total errors, 19 hits and 29 runs on Tuesday.

Norway (0-2) made six of the errors while also striking out 18 times.

“We looked like a team playing our first game,” Norway head coach Randy Van Gasse said. “We used a lot of guys. We hit the ball at times. We rallied at times. We made bonehead plays at times. It looked like a first game.”

Van Gasse said the team will get acclimated to playing outdoors, where depth perception while throwing and hitting varies drastically from within the confines of a gym.

“We messed up some cut-offs,” he said. “But you look at the guys and go ‘it’s hard to do cut-offs in the gym.’ We’ll take this one and we’ll learn from it. We looked at too many third strikes. This was our first live pitching. It’ll come. It’s just nice to be playing baseball.”

Iron Mountain hosts L’Anse on Thursday while Norway visits North Central.

Game 1

Norway 012 401 0 — 8 6 5

Iron Mountain 014 030 1 — 9 7 5

Game 2

Norway 022 — 4 1 1

Iron Mountain 260 — 8 6 0