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Knights notch a regional win

Norway to meet Gaylord St. Mary’s

(Matt McCarthy/Daily News photos) Norway junior Nolan Amundson winds up to throw a pitch in Wednesday’s MHSAA Division 4 regional semifinal game against Ironwood at the Bark River Sports Complex. Amundson struck out six batters in three innings of work.

BARK RIVER — A five-run fifth inning and solid relief pitching from Nolan Amundson powered Norway past Ironwood 9-4 in an MHSAA Division 4 baseball regional semifinal Wednesday at the Bark River Sports Complex.

Knights first baseman Michael Peterson drove in a game-high three runs.

Each team plated a run in the opening inning, with catcher Chase Carlson scoring for the Knights. Carlson cracked Norway’s lone extra-base hit, a triple, to get into scoring position.

Ironwood first baseman Iain Agee blasted a double to drive in the Red Devils’ run in the bottom half.

Two innings later, the Knights played “small ball” with Tyler Spring, Alex Ortman and Carson Chartier each hitting RBI singles. Aided by a couple Ironwood miscues, the Knights plated five runs.

“We’re lucky that we got that five-run inning, because our energy level was way down the remainder of the game,” said Norway head coach Tony Adams. “We put together some good at-bats that inning.”

Upon adding an insurance run in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead, the Knights removed starting pitcher Gannon Bray and Isaac Lorenzoni came on in relief. Ironwood plated three runs in Lorenzoni’s one inning of work, though only one was earned.

“The flow of the game made us feel we were comfortable, because we have confidence in all of our pitchers,” said Adams of pulling Bray with a six-run lead. “We wanted to limit him (Bray) if we could and we did.”

Elijah Sprague, Gavin Delich and Joe Joki each drove in Red Devils’ runs in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 7-4 Knights.

Amundson entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and shut the door. The Knights junior allowed only one hit, while fanning a half-dozen and walking three.

Sean Korpela toed the mound for the Red Devils, allowing seven runs, five earned. He fanned two, walked four and gave up seven hits.

“Sean (Korpela) pitched well. I can’t say anything bad about his pitching performance today,” said Ironwood head coach Adam Mackey. “He did walk a few, put he’s done well, especially the last couple of weeks.”

Sprague, Agee and Rukus Betlewski also pitched for Ironwood. Agee fanned two, and allowed an earned run, with Betlewski also giving up an earned run.

Ironwood, who won the school’s first district title since 2010, finished the season with a 11-10-1 record.

The Knights will advance to the MHSAA regional championship game on Saturday at Pellston. Norway will take on Gaylord St. Mary’s at 11:30 a.m. Central time, with the winner advancing to MHSAA Quarterfinal No. 14 at approximately 2 p.m.

“Gaylord St. Mary’s is familiar to us from previous years in the regionals,” Adams said. “I know that they’ll be ready to play, and we better be also. Every step we take forward in the postseason is good for our young team and for our program.”

Rudyard will take on Maple City Glenn Lake at 9 a.m. in another regional championship game at Pellston, with the winner advancing to the mid-afternoon quarterfinal.

Norway 1 0 5 1 0 0 2 — 9/10/2

Ironwood 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 — 4/6/2

WP: Bray; LP: Korpela; S: N. Amundson

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