Marquette Reds put up battle before Negaunee Diamonds complete American Legion baseball sweep

The Marquette Reds’ Josh Price takes a swing against Negaunee during an American Legion baseball doubleheader played Thursday in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Ray Bressette)

NEGAUNEE — The Negaunee Diamonds swept the Marquette Reds in an American Legion baseball doubleheader Thursday night in Negaunee.

The Diamonds edged the younger of Marquette’s Legion teams 6-5 in the first game before cruising to a 9-3 victory in the nightcap.

Negaunee bench coach Kyle Sexton, who filled in for manager Jason Siik Thursday, said his team showed up ready to play.

“I liked today’s effort,” Sexton said. “The guys came out focused and didn’t give Marquette any passes. We had our bats going all night, and that’s a great sign for the rest of our season.”

Marquette head coach Walt Smith said a late rally in Game 2 show the potential his players can some day reach.

“We had patient at-bats,” Smith said. “We were staring down the pitcher and made him throw strikes.

“Our team kept playing, and that’s what I like about this group of young players. We’re trying to improve every day.”

The Reds jumped out early in the opening game, scoring twice in the second inning by John Jason and James Bender.

But their lead wouldn’t last long, as Negaunee responded in the bottom of the inning with five runs by Eric Anderson, Erik Voskuhl, Jaden Grobar, Tyler Miller and Tylor Robinson for a three-run lead.

Marquette edged closer in the third when Eric Johnson stole home, then the Reds tied the game in the fourth inning with runs scored by Bender and Josh Price.

But finally, the Diamonds would take the lead for good in the fifth, when Dre Tuominen turned a single and a stolen base into the game-winning run batted in by Mark Anderson.

Negaunee continued its momentum into Game 2, scoring five runs once again in the second inning to go up early on Marquette.

Reds pitcher Jacob Soucy gave up those runs after leadoff batter Eric Anderson reached on a single and eventually scored. Other runs were scored by Jeff Matthews, Tuominen, Tanner Peterson and Robinson.

The Diamonds tacked on three more runs in the bottom of fourth by Eric Anderson, Mark Anderson and Peterson, but the Reds wouldn’t go away quietly.

Marquette attempted a rally with three runs in the top of fifth, getting three runs from Peter Vandenavon, Hogan Nemetz and Josh Price, and had the bases loaded with the potential tying run standing in the on-deck circle.

But Miller stood tall on the mound for Negaunee and worked himself out of the jam to preserve the lead, and another Diamonds run from Adam Ogea in the bottom of the sixth inning helped secure the sweep.

Sexton said scoring first in the second game was critical to the outcome.

“It was huge to get the early lead,” Sexton said. “It gives you a lot of confidence that you can get through anything.

“I love how focused our guys stayed until the end. Everyone stuck together and did their part to get out of here with both wins.”

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