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Rockets cruise past Mustangs

Todd Rose | Daily Press Myah Pearson (15) of Rapid River sldes into home to beat Munising’s Kristin Riley and score a run as Maizie Nelson watches Wednesday night in Rapid River.

RAPID RIVER — The Rapid River Rockets grabbed a pair of wins (15-0, 27-0) Wednesday night in a doubleheader against the Munising Mustangs in Rapid River.

Both games ended via the mercy rule. The first in the fourth inning and the second in the third.

Natalie Belanger threw 12 strikeouts — all of the outs — in game one with a walk and no hits.

Belanger started and finished game two with Cecilia Pilon pitching the second inning. Belanger had three strikeouts, no walks, and no hits.

“I think we needed a night to kind of get back on the horse because we’d been bucked off it the last few games,” said Rapid River coach Geroge Kanyuh. “The thing with our girls we were happy about is they executed. They made plays. We had no errors either game.”

“Overall, we’re happy with the girls’ effort and being able to rack up a couple of wins.”

The games were the first back on the mund for Belanger who had been taken out last week after taking a line drive shot to the arm while pitching against Gladstone.

“Natalie, after being hurt last week, this was her first time on the mound,” said Kanyuh. “We needed to see something good out of her and did.”

Carrigan Flath earned her first career varsity softball hit in the second game with a triple smash in the second inning. It was also her first RBI.

Belanger and Maizie Nelson were both 2-2 batting in the nightcap. Belanger scored three runs and three RBIs. Nelson had four runs and also had three RBIs.

In game one, Nelson (bases-loaded double and 3 RBIs) and Belanger (3-3, 3 RBIs and 4 runs) had the bats going, too.

While not the result the Mustangs may have hoped for, the team still seemed to be enjoying their time on the field and having fun.

“It is so important (to have fun while playing) with Covid right now,” said Munising coach Bonnie Syers. “It’s nice hearing the team, and it’s so important to have fun. It’s just important. So, these (games) are making memories, and they’re able to play, which is awesome.”

Among the Mustangs gaining experience with the season were the pitchers in game two, Rose Syers — who started — and Elizabeth Holloway. Prior to the game, neither had ever pitched before.

On top of inexperience, the Mustangs are also dealing with a depleted roster

“We have people right now who are in quarantine, and then we have a (player out with a ) concussion and another injury,” said coach Syers. “Between injuries and COVID, learning different positions, to me, is huge because you never know what you line up going to be the next day.”

Without coach Syers, there may not have been a season at all for the Mustangs.

“I have a great support team,” she said. “I’ve never coached before. This is my first year coaching. The girls wouldn’t have been able to play because there was no one else who could step up.

“So, I’ve been reading a lot of rule books and learning the game even more because I’ve been a spectator for over 10 years. So, it’s a completely different position for me, but I feel I’ve got the best seat in the house being their coach.”

Up next for the Rapid River Rockets is a trip to Kinsford’s Lodal Park for a four-team round robin this Saturday. In addition to the Rockets and the Flivvers, the Norway Knights and Marquette Redmen are expected to compete.

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