The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Miners lose to Red Devils in first-ever softball game


April 26, 2017

Pat Krause/Daily Globe photo

Katy Rand pitches for the Gogebic Miners - a new co-op softball team with players from Bessemer and Wakefield-Marenisco high schools - on Tuesday at Ironwood. The Miners lost this, their first game, 15-4.

IRONWOOD – Anticipation was in the air as a large-sized crowd gathered to watch the Gogebic Miners and Ironwood square off in a softball game on Tuesday.

Bessemer and Wakefield-Marenisco were playing as a co-op team for the first time in each school's history and many believed the two schools were playing softball as a high school sport for the first time ever.

When it was over, a good Ironwood team defeated Gogebic 15-4, but the Red Devils only led 5-3 after three innings and the Gogebic fans gave their team a nice round of applause as they left the field.

"The girls were excited to play for the first time and they were really, really nervous," Miner coach Shane Plemons said. "I'm not sure they all understand the gravity of being the first ones to have a team. For a lot of them, this is the first time they've played in a game or some played in a (non-high school) game two years ago. I was excited with how the game went and I'm definitely proud of all the girls. Even when we got down big, I was proud of the way the girls handled themselves. We will only get better. It was nice to see everyone coming out and supporting the teams."

Red Devil coach Heather Sbraggia said "it was nice to see" Gogebic had developed a team, but her main duties are to have her softball team ready to play and Ironwood was on Tuesday.

"We came out hitting early and that has been a struggle for us," Sbraggia said. "Kat (Kathleen Mieloszyk) started us off with a triple and Kacie (Lundin) hit a double and we scored three runs in the first inning. Lauren Gauthier pitched OK and this was the first time Lauren had pitched. She pitched three innings and had four K's and a few walks, but she will only get better."

But Sbraggia seemed most happy with the defense her team played.

"We had two errors," she said. "I'd like to have zero errors, but two errors are important looking at the games we played prior to this. When you play real good teams, you can't have any errors."

The Red Devils bumped up their lead to 5-0 in the second inning and it looked as if the Miners' ship was beginning to spring some leaks. Kazlyn Weber roped a single that hit hard off Miner pitcher, Katy Rand, and Kristine Mieloszyk drove an RBI triple to right field. Lundin reached on an error that brought in Mieloszyk.

Even though Rand had given up five runs, she had done so grudgingly and four of the five runs had been unearned.

"Katy did an excellent job and she's one of our youngest players," Plemons said.

In the third inning, Gogebic stepped up its game. Hanna Koivisto drew a walk, Allyson Metas was safe on an error and Hailey Plemons walked to load the bases. Rand hit a ball hard to Lundin, but the shortstop is a real good fielder and she threw to Haley Halverson for a force out at third base.

But in the process, Koivisto had scored Gogebic's first run ever. Two more walks to Sydney Wiita-Sprague and Katie Emery plated Metas and Plemons. The Miners had narrowed Ironwood's lead to 5-3.

In the fourth inning, the roof caved in on Gogebic. The Red Devils sent 15 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs. Ironwood had five hits, four base-on-balls, one hits-batsman and were safe on two errors. Kathleen Mieloszyk and Weber scored twice in the inning.

Plemons had substituted in a number new players in the fourth inning, but they did not lose the game for Gogebic. The Red Devils began to hit the ball hard and played with intensity and aggressiveness and Plemons said he's not changing a thing.

"I think our starting team can hang with most teams," Plemons said. "But we have a lot of underclassmen who need to get experience for the next few years. You may be dealing with a learning curve sometimes, but they have to play to get that experience."

Gogebic's Taylor Manchester scored one more run in the fifth inning, but Ironwood closed out the game with a 15-4 advantage and the ten run rule went into effect.

Despite scoring four runs in the game, the Miners could only muster one hit and that came from Ciara Novascone. They did walk ten times in the game.

Lundin led Ironwood's hit parade by going 3-4, while Weber was 2-2 and Kathleen Mieloszyk had two hits in three at-bats.

Gogebic (0-1) travels to Hancock on Monday for doubleheader games at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. CDT.

The Red Devils (4-4, 3-1 IC) host Mellen on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

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