NEGAUNEE - A little wind went a long way for one Wishigan League batter at Negaunee's Irontown Field on Wednesday evening.
Manistique native Andy Herro cracked two line drives out of the park, one to left-centerfield and the other to straightaway left.
Each was a two-run homer that allowed his Channing Railroaders to build an early 9-0 lead and hang on for an 11-8 victory over the Tri-City North Stars.
Tri-City North Stars batter Preston Hutchens swings at a pitch during the second inning of a Wishigan League game against the Channing Railroaders at Negaunee’s Irontown Field on Wednesday evening. Hutchens had two hits and scored twice, but the North Stars lost, 11-8. (Journal photo by Steve Brownlee)
Herro, who attended Northern Michigan University and now lives in Iron River, said they were his first home runs in more than a decade.
"This is only my second full game (with Channing), and I haven't played baseball since I was in Little League 11 years ago," he said about the adult baseball league that includes teams from the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. "I hit the ball farther when I wasn't trying to hit it out of the ballpark."
He homered his first two times up in the second and third innings, then added two strikeouts and an infield single for a 3-for-5 night.
Channing 11, Tri-City 8
R H E
Channing Railroaders 063 010 1 - 11 18 3
Tri-City North Stars 000 223 1 - 8 11 4
WP: Mike Miller, 4 1/3 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 K, 4 BB
LP: Adam Gannon, 2 IP, 6 R, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB
Channing: Andy Herro, 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs; Barry Holsworth, 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 runs, BB; Matt Wiitanen, 3-5, run; Garth Budek, 2-4, 2 2B, RBI, 2 runs; J.J. Fende, 2-5, run; Wade Holsworth, 2-5
Tri-City: James Larsen II, 3-5, 2B, run; Adam Brugman, 2-2, run, BB, HBP; Preston Hutchens, 2-4, 2 runs, BB; Collin Schwemin, 2-4, run, BB; Eric Beauchamp, 1-2, 2B, 3 RBI, run, 2 HBP
"When the wind is blowing out in Negaunee and when you give them extra outs, it can get ugly pretty quick," North Stars player-manager James Larsen II said.
Tri-City committed a pair of two-out errors in the second that would've otherwise limited the damage to three runs, but instead turned it into a six-run frame. It chased North Stars starter Adam Gannon, who also pitches for the Northern Michigan University club team, and he took the loss.
"We've got a lot of new faces this year, and our season is still in its infancy," Larsen said as his team slipped to 2-2 overall, 0-2 in the league after an earlier 4-3 loss at Channing.
"We've got some guys who played in college, so I'm just looking forward to getting our lineup solidified."
The team gets that chance with a game next Wednesday at Escanaba and each of the next two Sundays - at home against Crivitz, Wis., this weekend and again at home against Gillet, Wis., the following weekend. Both home games start at 1 p.m.
For Channing, the game was a welcome burst of offense as the Railroaders pounded out 18 hits against North Stars hurlers Gannon, Preston Hutchens and Dave Speaker.
"We're finally starting to get some runs after we won our last game with a walk-off hit at Gillet," Channing player-coach Barry Holsworth said. "Everybody can hit in our lineup."
Each coach finished with three hits at the plate, including a double, as Holsworth also knocked in two runs.
Hutchens and Tri-City teammates Adam Brugman and Collin Schwemin each had two hits, while Eric Beauchamp had just one hit, but knocked in three runs, two on a ground-rule double to left and the other when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Beauchamp was hit in the ankle twice, and the second time prompted Holsworth to relieve starting and winning pitcher Mike Miller with J.J. Fende.
Each gave up four runs, Miller in 4 1/3 innings as he also allowed seven hits and four walks while fanning two.
Channing's Matt Wiirtanen joined Herro and Holsworth in collecting three hits, while Fende, Wade Holsworth and Garth Budek had two apiece. Two of Budek's were doubles as he knocked in a run and scored two.
EDITOR'S NOTE: James Larsen II is a Mining Journal advertising representative.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.