By John Vrancic
For The Daily News
ESCANABA - C.J. Bolo tossed a three-hitter Tuesday night, helping the Iron Mountain nine and 10-year-old boys' all-stars earn the Karl Dickson Yooper tournament baseball title with a 7-1 triumph over Norway.
Bolo, who pitched 5 2/3 innings before reaching his pitch count limit, struck out nine and walked two. Foster Wonders fanned the final hitter.
"C.J. pitched heck of a game," said Iron Mountain manager Bucky Johnson. "That was a key right there."
This marked the fourth straight time the championship trophy headed to Dickinson County, with Norway taking it the past three years.
Iron Mountain gained some breathing room by scoring four times in the third, taking advantage of two errors and a bases-loaded walk. Nick Opolka added an RBI single in the inning, enabling the winners to gain a 5-0 lead.
"That kind of helped us relax," said Johnson. "Yet, we knew we couldn't relax too much because Norway has a good team. We had some timely hits, which was also critical. Their pitchers had good location. We just wanted our kids to make sure they swung at good pitches."
Norway got on the board in the fourth on Ian Gorzinski's single to left, then got baserunners to second and third with one out. Iron Mountain, however, didn't any more runs.
"We thought about bunting, but the kid we had coming up (Peyton Thompson) is our biggest hitter," said Norway manager Jon Lasater. "We tried to manufacture runs with small ball, only they made the plays. They were the better team tonight."
Iron Mountain finished the scoring in the fifth on Wonders' two-run single to left.
The winners opened the scoring in the first on Marcus Johnson's double along the leftfield line.
"Our pitchers actually pitched well," said Lasater. "I thought holding them to one run in the first would give us a big lift. Our kids played hard, but Bolo was on top of his game."
Gorzinski, who worked the first four frames, absorbed the loss. He fanned five, walked three and allowed seven runs on seven hits.
Iron Mountain finished with eight hits, with two apiece by Bolo, Marcus Johnson and Wonders.
"Their top three hitters are solid ballplayers," said Lasater.