Norway locks up SCC title with sweep

FELCH TOWNSHIP — After running roughshod through the Skyline Central Conference all season, the Norway varsity baseball team locked up an outright conference title by sweeping North Dickinson in a doubleheader on Friday.

The Knights topped the Nordics 10-0 to start the day and finished with a 14-0 victory.

Norway is now 21-3-1 on the season and 10-0 in the conference.

After facing Escanaba on Thursday, Knights’ head coach Tony Adams thought his kids started a little slow.

“We were a little sluggish to start, coming off of a tough game, but proud of the kids for competing,” coach Adams said. “An outright conference championship was one of their goals.”

Game One

Neither team could get anything going in the first inning and it was Norway that would find its rhythm first in the top of the second.

Cole Baij reached on an error and then advanced to second, bringing Bryce Adams to the dish. He grounded out, but Baij was able to move to third. Maddex Burklund was the next in the box. He also grounded out and Baij scored to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.

North Dickinson drew a walk in the bottom of the inning, However, it couldn’t get anything else going.

In the third, Norway blew things wide open. An Alex Ortman double to left field scored two runs. Ortman would score on a Nordics’ error. Ian Popp drove in a run on a walk. Cameron Varda doubled in two runs and Landon Amundson added an RBI single.

When the dust settled, the Knights were up 9-0.

Hayden Amundson added a run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning and Norway picked up the 10-0 victory.

Cole Baij started the game on the bump for the Knights.

He struck out five in four innings. Varda closed things out, striking out two in one inning. They combined for a no-hitter.

Spencer Kramer started for North Dickinson. He struck out two in 2.2 innings. Jason Graham also recorded two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.

Brady Jungwirth, Kramer and Luke Grunlund each drew a walk for the Nordics.

Varda, Landon Amundson and Ortman each tallied two RBIs for Norway. Popp and Adams had one RBI apiece. Popp, Cole Baij, Owen Baij and Burklund each drew one walk. Hayden Amundson led the way with two steals.

“Cole Baij and Cameron Varda were very effective on the mound,” coach Adams said. “We had multiple players produce on offense, which is always good.”

Game Two

After a slow start in the opener, Norway exploded in the first inning of game two.

Back-to-back walks setup Owen Baij, who singled to right field scoring Varda. Ortman was hit by a pitch, bringing Cole Baij to the dish. He singled in two runs. Adams followed that with an RBI single of his own.

At the end of the frame, the Knights led 4-0.

In the second, Ortman, Cole Baij and Adams tallied RBIs and the lead grew to 9-0.

Norway scored one run in the third and four in the fourth to win,14-0, in five innings.

Owen Baij started the game for the Knights and picked up the win. He struck out six in 3.2 innings. Popp closed the game recording one strikeout.

“Owen Baij was in control on the mound,” coach Adams said, “and it was great to see Ian Popp get the final out with a strikeout after all of the injuries he’s gone through the last two years.”

Trevor Cherubini recorded the Nordics lone hit.

Owen Baij, Cole Baij and Adams led Norway with two RBIs apiece. Landon Amundson drew three walks and stole a base while Cole Baij and Varda each had two stolen bases. Cole Baij also drew two walks.

The Knights are back today for the MHSAA Division 4 Pre District against North Central at 4 p.m. at Mike Maule Field in Norway.


KINGSFORD — The Kingsford varsity baseball team closed its season on a high-note Friday as it picked up a 3-2 victory over Florence at Lodal Park.

“I thought both teams played extremely well as evidenced by the fact that the game was won by a walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning,” Flivvers coach Joe Kriegl said. “I was extremely impressed by the quality of the pitching Florence threw at us.

We had our hands full and I expected nothing less as we knew Coach Johnson and McLain would have their boys ready and playing at a high level.”

Both offenses struggled in the first two innings.

Then in the top of the third, Florence took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Bryce Leffler that scored William Kelley.

Kingsford tied things at one in the next half inning on an RBI single from Jack Kriegl that scored Gavin Brown.

It took two innings, but the Flivvers were the next to score. A ground out from Andres Finley brought Gavin Grondin around to score and they held a 2-1 advantage.

But, back-to-back doubles in the top of the sixth, from Trent McLain and Leffler, tied the game at two.

Kriegl was the hero in the bottom of the seventh as he doubled to center allowing Grondin to score and Kingsford picked up the 3-2 win.

Kelley, McLain and Mason Koski all pitched for the Bobcats.

McLain led the way with two strikeouts.

Leffler was a force at the dish for Florence. He went 3 for 3 on the day with two RBIs.

Brown picked up the win for the Flivvers. He pitched all seven innings and tallied six strikeouts.

“Brown has been a beast for us all year anywhere we put him on the field,” coach Kriegl said. “And he once again didn’t disappoint offensively or defensively.”

Kriegl led Kingsford with two RBIs while Finley had one. Brown and Kriegl each tallied two hits. Brown and Grondin each drew a walk.

Now the Flivvers turn their attention to the MHSAA Division 2 District 33 semifinals against Cheboygan on Saturday.

The game is in Cheboygan and will start at 10 a.m. EST.

“Now we have a week to get healthy and fine tune the team to help us hopefully make some noise in the playoffs. You never know what’s going to happen. … It’s baseball.”

Daily News sports editor Sean Chase compiled this report.


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