Norway juniors 2nd
ROCHESTER HILLS – Norway turned in a stunning comeback before falling in the Little League junior (age 13-14) baseball state finals Sunday.
Norway advanced to the championship by scoring seven runs in the top of the seventh inning and defeating Onstead 11-6.
In the finals, Midland pinned a 10-0 loss on Norway.
“They (Midland) hit the ball but we did as well,” Norway manager Jim Bal said. “We hit line shot after line shot but they were in the right spot.”
Bob Kleiman (double) and Hunter Kaldor each poked two of Norway’s six hits. Justin Bal and Josh Hayes each singled.
Midland reached Norway pitchers Ethan Blagec, Kleiman and Micah Wilson for 10 hits.
In the semifinal, Onstead snapped a 4-4 tie with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
A lead-off walk to Justin Bal launched Norway’s 12-batter seventh inning.
Norway produced six hits in the frame including a Kaldor double and two-run single from Wilson. Kleiman, Joe Murvich, Cody Carlson and Dane VandenHeuvel also singled.
Kaldor, Bryce Broden and Kleiman allowed five hits, fanned seven and walked eight against Onstead.
“Broden pitched very well (in relief),” Bal noted.
Norway registered 15 hits and seven walks. Kleiman and Murvich each tagged a double and three singles. VandenHeuvel posted two hits, Kaldor doubled and Carlson singled.
Norway completed pool play with a 10-0 win Saturday over White Lake. Norway outscored three pool foes 18-1.
Blagec notched three of Norway’s 13 hits and knocked in three runs against White Lake. Kaldor and Carlson contributed extra-base hits while Murvich and Broden each singled twice.
VandenHeuvel and Kleiman, who entered in the sixth inning, permitted three White Lake hits.
Many from this group have finished runner-up in three state tourneys – juniors, 11-year-old and majors (age 12-under).
“This is a great group,” said Bal, noting the team watched the Tigers and Phillies play Saturday night at Comerica Park. “You couldn’t ask for a better bunch.
“This was a great team effort by everybody. They all stepped up and played well.”
In the Little League senior (age 15-16) baseball state tournament at Harper Woods, Kingsford wrapped up pool play with a 1-2 mark after falling to Ash-Carlton 4-1 Saturday.
In the Little League minor (age 9-10) baseball state tournament at Muskegon, Norway dropped games to Midland Northwest, 12-1, and Detroit Croswell, 9-0.
Norway completes pool play tonight against Reed City, a rained out opponent from Friday.