Bark River splits Legion games with Kingsford

By Adam Niemi

Iron Mountain Daily News

KINGSFORD – Kingsford split a doubleheader with Bark River-Harris to finish its American League season on Thursday.

Kingsford won the first game 9-6 before losing the nightcap 6-3.

“We had our A-team as far as our older kids,” Bark River-Harris coach Matt Richer said. “This is our first time all year that we had everyone that we anticipated being a starter.”

Logan Heim hit two homeruns for Bark River-Harris (11-7), including a two-run shot in the third inning of the second game to extend the lead to 3-0.

Heim hit a solo homer in the fourth inning of the first game, part of a four-run inning that gave Bark River-Harris a short-lived 5-0 lead. Kingsford responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Kingsford coach Dek Forstrom said the season finale was a good showing at a time when younger players have stepped up, partly due to help from older players on the team guiding them.

“I’m really proud of the kids today. My older ones, I had two seniors out there today who played hard,” Forstrom said. “They really stood behind these young kids really well. Brett Swanson, Steven, Guy Barrows … my older kids, I can’t give them enough credit. They really pushed the issue with these younger kids. They’re really good mentors. My younger kids, they’re going to be pretty good. We’re playing really good baseball right now.”

However, Forstrom said Kingsford won’t be in the conference tournament starting today in Menominee. Not enough kids would be available to play, Forstrom said.

Heim singled in the fourth to finish 2 for 2 with a walk. Nick Lippens singled and doubled.

“They can really hit the baseball,” Richer said of his team. “Logan Heim hit a couple homeruns. Duane Englund had one pretty close. We tagged the ball pretty good today.”

Noah Wilcox pitched three innings in the second game, giving up three runs on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Ben Stanish pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and walking three.

Ryan Arndt pitched the second game for Bark River-Harris. He gave up three hits with five walks and six strikeouts.

Johnson and Brett Swanson picked up a hit apiece for Kingsford. CJ Bolo doubled in the fourth inning.

In the first game, Kingsford took a 2-0 lead in the first which was helped by three straight singles to start the inning.

Bark River-Harris answered with a run in the second before adding the four runs in the fourth and the final run in the seventh. Kingsford’s defense played strong against Bark River-Harris’ solid contact at the plate. Kingsford second baseman Colin Erickson has stood out with his play in the last couple weeks, Forstrom said.

“Colin Erickson has been completely on fire for five games,” Forstrom said. “Even when he doesn’t hit it hard, he’s on base, clutch hits, defensively sound. Colin’s obviously worked very, very hard. His defense is flawless. Glove-to-hand, the ball’s out right away. He knows what he’s doing. He’s really good. He showed me a lot.”

Caleb Johnson pitched for Kingsford in the first game. He gave up seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts.

Duane Englund pitched the first game for Bark River-Harris, giving up 13 hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Matt Richer pitched to five batters in the final inning, giving up two hits. Richer also threw two innings in the second game.

Bark River-Harris plays the conference tournament this weekend in Menominee.

Forstrom said he enjoyed the last moments coaching his son Steven in a game. Mentoring and teaching Steven the game of baseball his whole life, Dek said the final game was bittersweet.

“That’s my boy. Hit it a mile or strikeout, that’s my boy. Today, too, kind of a sad parting. It won’t be the same, you know,” Dek said. “He’ll miss it, I’ll miss it. We went out in fashion. Can’t say enough, that’s my own kid. Did I have tears in my eyes? Yeah, that’s my boy.”