Norway throws combined no-hitter, advances

North Central senior pitcher Adrian Mercier (35) delivers a pitch against Norway at Mike Maule Field on Tuesday in MHSAA Division 4 pre-district action. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

NORWAY — Although the end of the school year is a busy time with graduation and holidays, the Norway varsity baseball team was not phased as it welcomed North Central to Mike Maule Field for MHSAA Division 4 District 98 pre-district action on Tuesday.

The Knights kept their season alive with a 6-0 victory over the Jets.

“We played well,” Norway head coach Tony Adams said. “I felt like we should have had nine or 10 (runs), but we did it to ourselves, very poor base running. But we hit the ball hard. … Credit to Adrian Mercier. We knew he was going to battle. That’s the kind of kid he is.

“It’s a very hard weekend with graduation, Memorial Day and graduation parties. And we’re a hair off, we’re out of routine. But I’m proud of the kids.”

After an extended weekend, multiple Norway players dyed their hair Blonde.

At left, Norway’s Maddex Burklund heads for second base during Tuesday’s contest against the Jets. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

When asked where the idea came from, multiple players pointed their fingers at one player. … First baseman Alex Ortman.

“It’s all about team bonding,” Ortman said. “We’re trying to get a few more to do it but we only got a couple teammates, so far. It’s a look for sure.”

For Ortman, the plan is to get the whole team on board.

“They’re a very tight group of kids, so I’m assuming a few more will jump on board,” coach Adams said.

Despite putting up a valiant effort against the 2024 Skyline Central Conference champions, North Central’s season has come to an end. They ended the season 11-13.

“We played a heck of a game,” Jets head coach Ben Snyder said. “Shoutout to Cole Baij. He’s a heck of a pitcher. He threw a heck of a game for them. Norway is a great program and they came out on top.”

North Central senior Adrian Mercier started the game on the mound. He pitched 5.2 innings while striking out two.

“Super proud of our team,” Snyder said. “They rose to the occasion. Mercier has been a heck of a player his entire career. He deserves all the credit he has gotten. Couldn’t ask for a better kid to coach.”

After four years with the team, it was an emotional moment when he was relieved for Nate Pipkorn.

“It’s super emotional,” coach Snyder said. “Almost the end of an era because he’s been a starter for us since he was a freshman. It was a special moment for his dad (Jason Mercier) to be able to go out there and pull him off the mound one last final time.”

Cameron Varda kicked off the scoring for the Knights in the bottom of the first as he scored on a passed ball. Landon Amundson also scored on a passed ball in the inning while Owen Baij crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice. When the dust settled, Norway held a 3-0 advantage.

The Knights added to their lead in the fifth when Owen Baij tagged up on an Alex Ortman line drive.

Then in the bottom of the sixth, Maddex Burklund singled in a run which Varda followed with an RBI single, giving Norway a 6-0 lead.

Owen Baij struckout the North Central side in the seventh and the Knights picked up the win.

Cole Baij was tagged with the win for Norway. He struck out ten in six innings without surrendering a hit, walk or run. Owen Baij struck out three in an inning and the brothers combined for a seven-inning no hitter.

Offensively, Varda, Ortman, Cole Baij and Burklund each tallied an RBI for the Knights. Varda and Owen Baij each drew two walks. Bryce Adams and Burklund each drew one. Owen Baij also stole three bases.

Norway is back in action on Friday at Mike Maule Field against Ewen Trout Creek at 10 a.m. If it wins, it will play in the district championship at 4 p.m.


IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain varsity baseball team wrapped up its regular season schedule on Tuesday at LIUNA Field with a split against Houghton.

The Mountaineers rode a no-hitter from Niko Burgoon to a 5-0 win in the opener. However, they couldn’t maintain that momentum and fell 14-2 to the Gremlins.

Game One

Iron Mountain kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the second after Ian Marttila hit a two RBI single. It also added a run on an error and took a 3-0 lead.

Jacob Powell pushed the lead to four in the third inning with a grounder.

Lane Wender drew a walk and drove in a run in the fourth to give the Mountaineers a 5-0 advantage. They would hold on to win.

Burgoon picked up the win for IM. He struck out seven in six innings.

Offensively, Marttila led the way with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Powell and Wender each had one. Connor Pickett, Marttila and Wender each drew a walk.

Game Two

Houghton struck first, scoring two runs in the first inning. It also added two in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth to take an 8-0 lead.

The Mountaineers responded in the bottom of the fifth. Evan Mendini and Caden LaFave would score on Houghton errors.

But in the next half inning, the Gremlins would add six runs to their total en route to a 14-2 win.

Marttila was tagged with the loss. He struck out three in 3.1 innings.

Pickett recorded IM’s lone RBI. LaFave led the way with two walks. Gerald Sampoll-Torres and Jace Peterson each had one.


NIAGARA, Wis. — The season continues for the Niagara varsity baseball team as it picked up a 6-1 win over Northland Lutheran on Tuesday in the WIAA Division 5 regional semifinals.

Cody Bath picked up the win for the Badgers. He struck out eight in 6.2 innings. Mason Richtig also struck out one in .1 innings.

The Wildcats struck first in the opening frame. But, Niagara added a run in the second and third to take control.

The Badgers scored four in the fourth to pick up the win.

Richtig led the way with two RBIs. Christian Hedmark, Aiden Sweig and TJ Beard each had one RBI. Hedmark and Sweig stole one base apiece. Easton Holmes and Beard each drew one walk.


FLORENCE, Wis. — The Florence varsity baseball team’s season came to an end on Tuesday as it lost to St. Thomas Aquinas Academy 6-4 in the WIAA Division 5 regional semifinals.

The Bobcats were the No. 1 seed.

The Cavaliers used an RBI single in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.

However, Florence would immediately respond. Mason Koski kicked things off with an RBI double. He would score shortly after on a grounder from Bryce Leffler. Matthew Smith drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

When the dust settled, the Bobcats held a 3-1 lead.

Leffler added another RBI in the third and Florence pulled ahead 4-1.

In the top of the fourth, STAA tied the game at four after scoring three runs.

It would take the lead in the fifth with a two RBI single to right field.

The Bobcats loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity and they lost 6-4.

William Kelley started the game on the mound for Florence. He struck out four in four innings. Trent McLain closed the game. He struck out five in three innings.

Leffler led the Bobcats’ offense with two RBIs. Koski and Smith each had one RBI. Joey Holmstrom drew two walks. McLain and Kelley stole one base apiece.


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