Kingsford baseball finds its stride against IM

Niagara advances

(Ron Deuter photo) Kingsford’s Jonah Doenier dives back into first as Iron Mountain first baseman Evan Mendini awaits a pick-off throw from pitcher Niko Burgoon.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Kingsford sent 10 batters to the plate in the final inning to bust open a 2-2 tie and ran past Iron Mountain 8-2 Thursday afternoon at Liuna Field.

The Flivvers, crowned Great Northern Conference champions Wednesday in Menominee, were stymied most of the game by Mountaineer senior pitcher Niko Burgoon, who had nine strikeouts through five innings before running into a little trouble in the sixth.

“Niko is a great baseball player,” Flivvers head coach Joe Kriegl said. “He kept them in the game.”

Kingsford sophomore Jake Deuter opened the sixth by greeting Burgoon with a sharp line-drive single up the middle. Deuter advanced to second on a pitch past the catcher before Wyatt Scott connected for a gapper to right center to drive in Deuter with the go-ahead run.

Scott was the last batter Burgoon faced after reaching his pitch limit, and the floodgates opened.

Junior Gavin Grondin brought in Scott with another gap shot to right center. Junior Jack Kriegl added a two-run single to left to complete a 3-for-4 effort at the dish. Junior Nolan Hendrickson drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, and junior Joey Weber added a RBI single.

“Niko was outstanding, kept them off balance pretty good, but his pitch count ran out and Kingsford was able to jump all over us after that,” Mountaineers head coach Jeff McLean said. “They had some kids get some big hits, especially Scott. He’s kind of been a Mountaineer killer the past couple of years. He’s been in some big spots and made plays.”

A 1-1 game after one inning, Iron Mountain took a 2-1 edge in the third thanks to a squeeze bunt attempt by junior Evan Mendini that popped up over both Kingsford pitcher Weber and junior Andres Finley who was charging in from first.

The Mountaineer lead lasted until the fifth when an error at third and later a wild pitch allowed freshman Jonah Doenier to score Kingsford’s second run. Doenier had reached with a one-out walk.

“We had opportunities earlier in the game but couldn’t cash in, and that was because of Niko,” Kriegl said. “I was pleased to win obviously, but we have to try to produce earlier if we want to be successful down the road.”Kingsford’s first run came when Kriegl ripped a triple and scored in the top of the first. Iron Mountain answered in the bottom half as Burgoon led off with a double and scored after a single by freshman Joey Wahoviak.

Weber started and pitched into the sixth for Kingsford, allowing just two hits while fanning five and walking five. Junior Garret Brown came on to lock it down, getting two strikeouts looking. Burgoon’s line included four hits and four walks.

The Flivvers will have a week of rest before heading into district play on June 1. Kingsford will face Cheboygan at Cheboygan with the winner set to battle either Sault Ste. Marie or Escanaba.

“We’re feeling good, optimistic,” Kriegl said. “We have a really good opportunity but we have to play good baseball. Error free as we can and hit the ball and pitch well. Right now we’re a little banged up. Next week will be big to rest some bodies and head in strong.”

The Mountaineers head to Houghton for districts, looking to pull off another shocker after capturing the district title last season despite a two-win season. IM has a bye and awaits the winner of Calumet and Negaunee.

“We’ll see what happens,” McLean said. “Maybe we can rekindle some of the magic from last year and squeak one out there.”

Thursday’s meeting between the Mountaineers and Kingsford was a doubleheader, with Kingsford’s younger squad pounding out a 25-5 four-inning victory in the second contest.


NIAGARA, Wis. — The No. 4 ranked Niagara varsity baseball team was in complete control on Thursday as it welcomed No. 13 White Lake to Memorial Field for the opening round of the WIAA Division 4 regionals.

The Badgers dominated from wire-to-wire and picked up a 17-0 win over the Lakers.

Niagara exploded for five runs in the bottom of the first inning with Blake Holmes, Mason Richtig, and Aiden Sweig each recording RBIs.

The Badgers added two runs in the third, pushing their lead to 7-0. Gavin Neuens and Easton Holmes scored on White Lake errors.

But, it was the fourth inning where Niagara really showed how dominant it can be at the dish. Richtig tallied an RBI single, Easton Holmes drew a walk that scored a run, Neuens hit an RBI single, Blake Holmes tallied a two-RBI double and Mason Holmes added an RBI single in the inning. It scored 10 runs in the frame to lock up the win.

Richtig dazzled on the mound, picking up the win. He struck out nine batters in five innings while surrendering no runs and one hit.

He also led the Badgers’ offense with four RBIs. He was 3 for 4 on the day. Blake Holmes was close behind with three RBIs. Blake Holmes and Neuens each stole a base.

They are back in action on Tuesday against No. 5 Northland Lutheran at home.


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