ROGERS CITY-Though district play doesn't begin for a few weeks yet, it's probably safe to bet that the Onaway and Rogers City softball teams will be the favorites to meet in the district final.
Fans from both sides were treated to a preview of that prospective final on Wednesday with the Cardinals getting the better of their county rival 5-4 and 10-6 in a doubleheader at Gilpin Field.
Onaway held off Rogers City (21-5) in the opener to win 5-4. The Hurons got the tying run on base in the seventh inning after Courtney Streich singled with two outs, but Onaway ace Emily Estep struck out Nikkie LaLonde to end the game and leave Streich aboard.
News Photo by James Andersen
Onaway’s Sam Brasseur, left, slides safely into home plate to score in the top of the first inning as a ball gets by Rogers City catcher Cassie Brege during a softball game Wednesday at Gilpin Field in Rogers City. Brasseur was the fourth player to score during a five-run first inning for the Cardinals.
Onaway (18-3) made Rogers City ace Melissa Pomranke work in the first inning and tallied five runs off of the Cardinals' former No. 2 pitcher. Pomranke issued four walks in the opening inning, with three of them coming with the bases full. Faith Chapman had an RBI single and Temara Lupu scored on a passed ball for Onaway's other two runs.
"We didn't execute offensively and defensively, the way we had to get to (today)," Rogers City coach Karl Grambau said.
Though it looked like Onaway might be off and running after the first half inning, the Hurons put pressure on Estep, collecting two runs with both of them coming on bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the inning.
Pomranke settled down to shut down the Cardinals for the remainder of the opener, scattering just three hits the rest of the way and pitching out of a couple jams.
In the sixth inning, Brooke Szymoniak led off the inning with a single and was moved to second base on a fielders choice. Pomranke induced two ground balls to get out of the inning and strand Syzmoniak on third base.
"Rogers City played great defense. They did a good job hitting the ball," Onaway coach Jodi Brewbaker said. "Melissa pitched really well."
Pomranke pitched a complete game, allowing five runs on five hits with five walks and 15 strikeouts. Estep finished with a similar line, fanning 13 while allowing four runs on four hits with three walks.
After three hitless innings, the Hurons tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning. After Logan Fleming singled to begin the inning, LaLonde reached base on an error, moving to second while Fleming went to third. Two passed balls then allowed Fleming and LaLonde to cross home plate.
Fleming and Streich had two each for the Hurons and Syzmoniak, Lupu, Chapman, Megan Estep and Sam Brasseur each had hits for the Cardinals.
Brasseur came up with the big hit for the Cardinals in the nightcap, hitting a bases-clearing triple to tie the game at six in the sixth inning.
Lupu earned the win, allowing six runs on seven hits with five walks and two strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Estep came on to earn the save in the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and fanning three.
Rogers City jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning after a three-run triple by Morgan Hall. Pomranke singled in Hall to add another run.
The Cardinals weren't down for long however as Megan Estep hit a bases-clearing double to pull Onaway within one in the first inning.
The Hurons added a run in the second inning on an RBI single from LaLonde and led 6-3 after five innings.
Onaway took the lead for good in the sixth inning with Lupu knocking in two runs to compliment Brasseur's hit.
"These are tough losses for us, but I think we learned some things about ourselves and about Onaway," Grambau said. "The second game, give credit to Onaway. They came back and beat us."
Fleming had two hits to lead the Hurons and LaLonde, Hall, Cassie Brege, Linnea Brege and Brookyln Idalski each had one hit.
Megan Estep was 4-for-5 for Onaway with two doubles and four RBI; Emily Estep was 2-for-4; Lupu and Freel each went 2-for-4 with a double; and Chapman and Szymoniak each had a hit.