RAPID RIVER - Softball victories in Delta County have been hard to come by for the Manistique Emeralds in recent years.
The Emeralds broke that trend Wednesday, however, as they hung on for a 4-3 triumph and gain a split in a doubleheader with the Rapid River Rockets.
Rapid River, fueled by a seven-run fourth inning, took the opener 13-6.
The Rockets mounted a threat in the bottom of the seventh as Aslynn Brockway led off with an infield single and reach second on a passed ball.
Manistique then turned a double play as Hannah Kanyuh ground out to shortstop and Brockway was thrown out to third. Winning pitcher Bre Richey then struck out Kendyl Miller to preserve the victory.
"We're hoping this is a sign of good things to come," said Emeralds' manager Jessica Nord. "Bre pitched great and we played better defense in the second game. This might be the first time we've beaten them. Rapid River is a great hitting team. We can't take that away from them."
Richey, who pitched both games, struck out four, walked none and allowed nine hits in the nightcap.
The Emeralds (7-3-1) did all their scoring in the first inning. Richey clubbed a three-run homer to left field and Jamie Erickson added an RBI single to center.
Rapid River got on the board on Erika Schwartz's single to center in the fourth and scored a pair of runs in the sixth on doubles to center by Dominique Pavlat and Erica Rubick.
Manistique then loaded the bases in the seventh, but came up empty.
"I thought we'd get a run in the seventh," said Nord. "Only, it didn't work out."
Schwartz absorbed the loss. She fanned six, walked three and gave up nine hits.
"Our pitching and defense was working," said Rockets' manager George Kanyuh. "I'm never worried when we're down by one run with this bunch. We kind of figured we'd pull it out. The double play took us out of the inning."
Ashley Menominee led the Emeralds with three hits and Richey was 2-for-2.
Rubick went 3-for-3 and Pavlat and Savannah Stenlund added two hits each for the Rockets, who visit Escanaba for a twinbill today.
In the opener, Rachel Kanyuh, Rachel LaCosse and Stenlund led the Rockets with three hits apiece. Stenlund drove in four runs. LaCosse had three RBIs and Hannah Kanyuh had two.
The Rockets collected six hits in the fourth to snap a 6-6 deadlock.
Stenlund earned the victory by striking out 12 and walking two.
"That was a good outing by her," said manager Kanyuh. "Their centerfielder robbed us of about 2-3 hits in the second game. They made a couple nice plays, no doubt."
Menominee paced the Emeralds with three hits. Maddie Russell and Richey, who ripped a two-run shot in the second, had two hits each.
Wednesday's doubleheader was scheduled for Manistique. But the Emeralds' field wasn't playable on this sunny and seasonably cool day, forcing the move to Rapid River's field.
The Emeralds travel to Negaunee for a twinbill on Friday.