IRONWOOD - Houghton got on the board Wednesday in its softball doubleheader with Ironwood, but it wasn't enough, as the host Red Devils came away with 9-4 and 9-7 victories for a doubleheader sweep.
In the opener, the game was tied at three after three innings, but the Red Devils put together a two-out rally to double their score, led by Kaitlyn Tollstam's two-RBI triple.
"We had some running mistakes and they're very aggressive on the bases. They run very well," said Houghton coach Cathy Aten to the Daily Globe of Ironwood. "We need to work on that. We just didn't quite put the hits together."
Brooke Sten took the loss after coming during the fourth inning to relieve Laura Ruohonen, who injured her pitching hand sliding into second in the top of the fourth.
Game two started hopefully, as the Gremlins scored three unearned runs in the top of the first, but gave them all back in the home half.
"I thought we came out from the beginning and we hit a lot
better," Aten said. "We needed that because we're coming off a couple games where we just weren't hitting like we're capable of. To come out in the first inning and get three runs was a good confidence boost for the girls. And to stay right in the game and have a back-and-forth game like that is more fun. It's exciting for the girls. It's good for the girls to get that confidence boost back."
Ironwood took the lead on Pam Romans' two-run single in the second, but Houghton offered its response, scoring twice in the third on three walks and two singles.
Ironwood then tacked on four more runs, batting around as Romans had another two-RBI single.
Sten had an RBI triple as part of a 5-for-5 game, but Houghton's only reply was two runs in the sixth.
Sten struck out 10 in the nightcap in a losing effort.
"That was hard on the girls when Laura went out with an injury because she's really one of our best players," Aten said. "To come back and really make a game of it that second game, I'm proud of the girls to react that way and to battle back."
Houghton (5-11) plays at Northland Pines, Wis., today.