Blues batters keep on walking

Marquette works the count well in win over Gladstone

Marquette Blue’s Austin Wachnicki bats against the Gladstone Indians Tuesday evening, June 27, 2017 at the Haley Memorial Field in Marquette, MI (Journal Photos by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — A dominating sixth inning gave the Marquette Blues a commanding 8-3 American Legion win over Gladstone Tuesday evening.

The Blues scored five unanswered runs in the frame, breaking a tie to earn the win.

Marquette head coach Derek Swajanen said despite quiet performances at the plate most of the night, his team stuck with their game enough to pull out the late victory.

“We got a lot of walks to help win us this game,” Swajanen said. “We’ve started hitting the ball well over the last week, but tonight we didn’t get the barrels I wanted.

“We had great performances on the mound and great patience at the plate, and we took advantage of a lot of late chances.

“We were opportunistic with some solid defense, and I’m very proud of the win.”

After giving up three runs to Gladstone in the top of the first inning, the Blues battled back to bring a 3-3 tie into the sixth inning.

Holden Shaneberger started the bottom of the sixth off with a hit by pitch in the first pitch of his at bat. Two stolen bases later, Gladstone pitcher Tyson Seymour walked Alec Gadzinski and Jakob Peterson to load the bases with two outs.

Gladstone relief pitcher Elliot Danhoff struggled on the mound with the next batter, with two wild pitches bailed out by his catcher, but a pitch low and inside to Marquette’s Keenan Johnson couldn’t be stopped, nailing him in the leg to send him to first and bring home a runner to put the Blues up 4-3.

But Marquette wasn’t done as Alec Beauchamp stepped to the plate, battled back from an 0-2 count and turned it into a walk to score another run.

Blake Henriksen sealed the deal for Marquette on the next at bat, sailing a drive deep into center field that rolled to the fence, scoring three more runs to nail down the victory.

The Blues have went through a streak of wins in the final innings of their games this season, which Swajanen said is only helping his young team grow.

“We’re jelling as a team and have bonded well over a few road trips,” Swajanen said. “We have kids from ages through their teens and a young core group. They’re doing a good job of learning the game, learning what their teammates are doing and what each of them have to do individually to become better players.”

“Our pitching performed well other than a few walks at some bad times,” Gladstone head coach Justin Jurek said. “That came back to bite us. Our hitters were hot off the start, but we couldn’t put anything together after that.

“We played well overall. We just need a little more consistency at the plate and to throw more strikes when we’re ahead of counts. If we do that, these kind of games will start turning into wins.”

The Blues host Bark River-Harris in a doubleheader today at 4 p.m. at Haley Field.

Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is rbressette@miningjournal.net.