Knights play long ball, win invitational
By RON DEUTER
NORWAY – With temperatures plummeting, Norway sent the baseball soaring and rallied past Negaunee 5-2 to capture the title at the Norway Lofholm’s Building Center/Peterson Electric Baseball Invitational Saturday at cold, gusty Marion Park.
“We pitched well today, and played pretty steady defense again,” Knights coach Tony Adams said. “It’s our hitting, and today we were able to stay with it.”
The Knights trailed 2-0 in the final against the Miners, unable to solve the curve ball of Negaunee starter Dusty Goupille. The Knights managed just two hits against Goupille through the first four innings.
But things changed in a hurry in a the fifth. Dan Vivio led off the inning by launching a solo home run down the left field line, a hooking shot that only stayed fair thanks to the relentless wind pushing left to right across the field.
Vivio’s shot tied the game 2-2.
Then, with Taylor Bonetti and Stone Rossato reaching ahead of him, Austin Grayvold belted a three-run shot to the alley in right center to put the Knights ahead for good.
“Goupille has a good curve and we were fortunate to square some up,” Adams said. “Hopefully it’s another building block for us. We have to work hard on our offense.”
The homers were more than enough for John Grayvold, Jr., who came on in a relief role in the sixth and retired the Miners in order in the final two innings.
Sophomore Mike Faull got the starting nod, and kept the Miners to six hits through the first five innings.
“Mike kept us in the game,” Adams said. “And Johnny has been lights out this year.”
Negaunee’s runs came in the third. Goupille hit a sacrifice fly to right for the game’s first run, and Zak Makela followed later with a RBI single to center.
Goupille and the Miners seemed in control through the early innings, but Norway’s defense helped shift the momentum.
The Knights ended a threat in the fourth with 5-4-3 double play. Rossato fielded a chopper between third and short, fired to Austin Grayvold at second who relayed in time to Vivio at first.
In the fifth, Negaunee’s Ryan Bischof ripped a shot to right and tried to extend a double into a triple. But Riley Johnson came up firing to cutoff man Grayvold who pegged Bischof down at third. The very next at-bat saw center fiedler Garrett Bonetti rob Tyler LaJoie of extra bases by fully laying out for a diving catch of sinking liner to the left center gap.
Taylor Bonetti added two singles for Norway in the win.Norway advanced to Saturday’s championship with a 7-1 victory over Stephenson in the second game of the tournament.
Vivio was in command on the hill for the Knights, holding Stephenson scoreless through six and allowing three hits all game. He struck out nine while walking three.
Single tallies in the second and third innings had Norway nursing a 2-0 lead through five and half, but the Knights broke through with a five spot in the bottom of the sixth.
Vivio drove in a run with a single to left to start the scoring. Norway saw three runs come in due to errors and another on a wild pitch.
Johnson, Grayvold Jr., Jake Rehn and Garrett Bonetti each had two hits in the game, Grayvold Jr, blasting a triple to deep center in the fifth.
Stephenson’s Rick Chaney drove in a run with a single to right in the seventh.
Chaney also worked the mound for the Eagles, allowing 11 hits while striking out four.
Norway’s first run of the game scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Carlson in the second. That followed a sac bunt by Garrett Bonetti that pushed Rehn to third and Vivio to second.
Rehn drove in the Knights’ second run when he beat out a single to the right side of the infield in the third.
“Our pitching got us in the championship,” Adams said. “It was a great all-around day lots of kids chipped in.”
Grayvold Jr. was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Hitter, while Faull’s win in the final earned him Most Outstanding Pitcher.
Grayvold, Vivio, Garrett Bonetti, Taylor Bonetti and Rehn made the all-tournament team, which also included Stephenson’s Alex Starzynski and Trevor Christopherson; Marquette’s Jake Olson, Trevor Koski and Brandon Higbie; and Neguanee’s Makela, Goupille, Tony Zampese and LaJoie.
The opening game of the tournament started about two hours and 20 minutes late due to snow showers, which continued to whip through at various points during the day.
In that first contest, Negaunee (6-5) used a five-run sixth inning to break away from Marquette en route to a 9-0 win. Tony Zampese kept the Marquette bats in check, firing a three-hit shutout for the Miners. Zampese struck out three and walked three.
Goupille and Makela each had two hits and an RBI. Biscoff added one hit and a sacrifice fly with two RBI. Zampese drove in a run with a single, and LaJoie led off the game with a double.
Jack Kochevar took the loss, pitching 5 and 2/3 innings.
Marquette (1-10) went on to collect its first win of the season in the consolation game later in the afternoon, topping Stephenson 13-3 in a five-inning contest. Jake Olson provided the big blow of the game with a three-run homer in the second inning. Gabe Apple earned the complete-game victory on the mound.
Norway (6-3) travels to Negaunee today.