MARQUETTE - His team had just lost a 29-6 five-inning decision to the Marquette American Legion Blues baseball team Friday night at Haley Memorial Field when Herman Eleby was asked if he could take any positives out of the contest.
"Not really," the Marquette Reds manager said candidly. "I'm disappointed I couldn't play players at their normal positions.
"A third of my team was missing for various reasons and a lot of players were playing out of position."
Cole Arntsen of the Marquette Reds slides safely into third base as the Marquette Blues’ Luke Swajanen attempts to tag him out in the bottom of the second inning of the annual Burgers and Beans American Legion baseball game at Haley Memorial Field in Marquette on Friday. (Journal photos by Zach Jay)
It showed as the Reds (1-11) committed seven errors and suffered 11 passed balls in the annual Burgers and Beans game.
The Blues (13-7) took advantage, scoring five runs in each of the first two innings to vault to a 10-0 lead in a game that saw several reserves start for the winners.
The Blues posted 18 hits - five for extra bases - off three Reds pitchers.
"We had lots of hits," Blues manager Derek Swajanen said. "You tell the guys to keep being aggressive and keep working on the stuff you work on all season."
Levi Underwood went 4 for 5 and drove in five runs to power the Blues. Teammate Colton Wiggins added three hits and four RBIs, while Luke Swajanen (five) and Hunter Larson (three) combined for eight more runs driven in.
"Overall, I was happy," Swajanen said. "Wiggins had been working so hard on his swing and had been robbed on a lot of line drives this season. But a couple got through for him (tonight).
"And (Blues starting pitcher) Payton LeBombard, though he got a little tired, did a nice job."
LeBombard went three full innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out four.
"LeBombard threw strikes and we should be able to hit strikes," Eleby lamented.
The Blues turned the game into a rout by scoring eight runs in the third, with Derek Stone and Wiggins both hitting two-run singles. Colin O'Neal added an RBI triple in the frame.
The Blues continued to stay aggressive on the base paths, recording seven stolen bases in the final three innings for 11 thefts overall.
"I explained to the kids before the game that 'Everyone is fighting for playing time,'" Swajanen said. "I told them 'Do everything we've taught you, as this is your chance to show me what you've learned to get into the starting lineup.'
"It's very hard then later on to say 'Stop being aggressive, stop doing what we've taught you.'"
A highlight for the Reds was a two-run single by Allen Hutchens in the fourth inning and an RBI single by Zack Carter in the fifth. Hunter Moore also went 2 for 3.
Anthony Hemstock took the mound loss. He went 2 innings, giving up 11 hits and six walks.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@ miningjournal.net.