IRONWOOD — Portage Lake scored 10 runs in the fifth inning to pull away and eliminate Penokee Range from the Little League District 11 (ages 11-12) tournament Wednesday.
Portage Lake won 20-9 in 5 innings after Penokee battled back from a 10-5 deficit to trail 10-9.
“The kids came to play today,” Penokee manager Scott Wilson said. “(Tuesday) they didn’t come to play, but they played well today. That’s part of Little League. It gets away from you and it’s hard to come back from a deficit. They did well. We were proud of them.”
Penokee led 5-1 after one inning, taking advantage of four walks and two errors by Portage Lake in the first inning. Penokee had two singles in the inning.
Portage Lake scored in every inning and pulled ahead 7-5 with four runs in the third.
Trailing 10-5 entering the bottom of the fourth inning, Penokee put up four runs. Tyler Busch hit a three-run home run. That was Penokee’s fifth homer of the tournament.
“We came back,” Wilson said. “They’re a hitting team and they definitely showed they’re a hitting team.”
But Portage Lake took all of the momentum back in the fifth inning with a 10-run frame. Portage produced seven hits, six of them singles, one home run and a walk in the inning.
“We had a couple of missed balls in the outfield and they were hitting the ball well against us,” Wilson said. “After those couple crucial errors, we lost it and they just kept rounding the bases on us.”
The home run was by Sam Keskimaki, his third of the tournament. He didn’t hit any long balls before the district in Ironwood.
Nick Niemi and Mason Saubert each had two hits for Penokee, which was outhit 18-6.
The Penokee pitching staff was thin because it entered the losers bracket with Tuesday’s 15-3 loss to Ishpeming.
“If we would have made it through today, we would have had full guns on Thursday and Friday,” Wilson said.
Ishpeming plays Portage Lake in today’s championship game in Ironwood. Portage Lake needs two wins to take the District title while Ishpeming moves on with just a single win.
Portage Lake 1 2 4 3 (10) — 20 18
Penokee Range 5 0 0 4 0 — 9 6