Key hits spark Rapid River’s sweep of Redettes

RAPID RIVER — Timely hitting helped Rapid River’s cause Wednesday as it swept to 3-1 and 6-1 softball victories over the Marquette Redettes.

Rapid River scored a run in each of the first three innings of the opener.

Natalie Belanger had two hits, including an RBI double. Shelby LaCosse also had two hits, a double and an RBI and scored a run.

Marquette’s Sophia VanDenEnde clubbed a home run in the sixth.

“Sometimes it’s not about quantity, but quality,” said Rockets’ head coach George Kanyuh. “The hits we got came at the right time. It was just one of those games which you had to grind things out and we did. It was nice to win a close one.”

Brittany Schwartz pitched the first four innings for the win. She struck out seven, walked three and gave up a hit. Belanger, who worked the final three frames, fanned six, walked one and gave up a run on two hits.

In the second game, the Rockets led 2-1 in the fourth until Belanger ripped a three-run triple for a 5-1 advantage.

“That was very big,” said Kanyuh. “It’s nice to have that cushion late in the game.”

LaCosse went 3-for-3, drove in two runs and scored a run. Richelle Vandeville added two hits and scored twice.”

“Natalie, Shelby and Richelle were the difference makers on offense in that game,” said Kanyuh.

“Marquette is a good team. These are the games which bring more pressure to the team. It’s a confidence builder.”

Belanger pitched the first three innings, whiffed five, walked none and allowed a run on two hits. Schwartz threw the final three frames, striking out three, walking none and giving up two hits.

The Rockets (20-7) resume in Saturday’s Tawas Invitational, facing Mio-AuSable at 9:30 a.m., Lincoln-Alcona at 11:15 and Tawas Area at 3:15 p.m.

Norway 16-7

Superior Central 5-0

EBEN JUNCTION — Norway swept a softball doubleheader Wednesday at Superior Central, beating the Cougars 16-5 and 7-0.

Superior Central totaled eight hits and five runs in the opener but Norway took advantage of its eight hits to beat Cougars’ pitcher Sam Thompson who went the distance on the mound for SC.

Jada Johnson had two RBI for the Cougars and Thompson was 2-3 in the first game loss.

Norway pitcher Allie Shefki pitched a two-hit shutout in game two, striking out two and walking three batters.

The winners were led offensively with Ada Vanholla ripping a three-run homer run in the opener and a two-run blast in game two. Cassidy Menard also homered for Norway.

Thompson also pitched the second game for the Cougars and took the loss allowing 7 hits and striking out six.

“We hit the ball right at them both games,” said Superior Central Coach Richard Swajanen.

“Norway makes all the plays and they played great defense.”

The Cougars (7-9) next play in a four-team tournament Saturday at downstate Posen before traveling to Munising Monday at 4 for a doubleheader.