Rockets fend off relentless Emeralds

RAPID RIVER – The Rapid River Rockets went to extra innings again Wednesday night, squeaking out a 6-5 victory over the Manistique Emeralds in game one. They got rolling in the second game, posting a 10-3 triumph in spite of the windy conditions.

In the latter portion of the doubleheader, the Rockets wasted no time getting on the board. Averi Kanyuh smashed a lead-off double to get things going in the first inning. Aslyn Brockway followed it up with a single, and a couple of pop flys drove them home for the early 2-0 lead.

Rapid River’s Neena Brockway started off on fire from the mound, picking up three strikeouts in the second inning. The Rockets supported her effort with their bats, as both Kanyuh girls and both Brockway girls earned hits to earn an early 6-0 advantage.

Manistique would battle their way back in the third. Ashley Menominee got them going with a lead-off single, and then Allie Nagy slammed a triple that would send their first run home with ease. What would have been a base hit for Sydney Chartier turned into a double when the Rockets tried to get the tag on Nagy, but it was unsuccessful and she ended up scoring to make it a 6-2 game.

“I’m very impressed to the way our team played today,” said Emeralds coach Jessica Nord. “We had some errors, but defensively we were a lot better (than we were against Negaunee).”

A single by Kelsy Gonyea allowed Chartier to score their third run, and the Emeralds were right back in it. However, that is all that Brockway and her team would allow them to score for the evening.

Rapid River (4-3) scored two more runs in the fourth inning after the first two batters received walks, and then back-to-back base hits by Savannah Stenlund and Neena Brockway drove them in for the score. That made it an 8-3 contest. The Rockets would add a pair of runs to pad the score late in the game, but enough damage was done early on to chalk up the win.

Nord added that although they came up short, there is a lot to be gained from these two games.

“When the umpires tell you your team is a lot better than it has been in the past, that’s definitely a confidence builder, especially for the players,” Nord said. “It makes you feel proud of what you’re doing.”

Brockway finished the evening with a blistering 15 strikeouts, and she only gave up seven hits.

“A day like this, with the weather being so cold and windy, that’s tough on any pitcher,” Rockets coach George Kanyuh said. “But she worked through it and we got it done. Neena’s throwing well, and she’s doing everything we’re asking of her.”

The Rockets batting was improved from Monday night. Averi Kanyuh, Aslyn Brockway, and Stenlund all finished with two hits apiece. Stenlund earned three RBIs, and Kanyuh and Brockway each had one.

“It’s a constant process of trying to improve on our hitting,” coach Kanyuh said. “I’m never happy with the hitting though. If we got 10 runs, then I want 12. It’s never enough.”

In regards to the coaching change in Manistique, Kanyuh said that Nord knows the game, and she’s got her team fired up and ready to play.

“They have a very good program,” he added.

Averi Kanyuh pitched for seven innings in the first game, posting seven K’s and giving up eight hits for five runs. Stenlund finished the last two innings, striking out three. Kanyuh had three RBIs on two hits in game one, and Stenlund had three hits which included two doubles, and an RBI. Kendyl Miller had two hits, resulting in two RBIs.

Rapid River resumes today, hosting Escanaba, while Manistique (1-5-1) is idle until Tuesday when it hosts Gwinn.