League champions: Marquette Blues overcome injuries to beat home team in Mid-Pen League American Legion baseball finals

Marquette Blues players and coaches stand with the Mid-Pen League playoff championship trophy in Menominee after the Blues defeated the Menominee Red Wave 7-1 in the finals on Sunday afternoon. (Photo courtesy Bill Finkbeiner)

“It’s tough seeing a teammate (go down) like that.” — Derek Swajanen, manager, Marquette Blues, about injuries to Tyler Larson and Alec Gadzinski


MENOMINEE — The Marquette Blues overcame some difficult circumstances to win the Mid-Pen league tournament on Sunday.

The Blues had two players get hurt in somewhat graphic fashion in the finals against Menominee, but they kept their composure and won the game 7-1.

With Marquette leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Blues starting pitcher Tyler Larson threw a pitch and immediately grabbed his throwing arm and ran to the dugout. Athletic trainer Andrew Shaver did what he could there before Larson was taken to a local hospital.

In the top half of the sixth, teammate Alec Gadzinski fouled a bunt off his face, causing it to bleed and he too had to leave the game.

“They were kind of in shock a little bit, because they had to watch it,” Blues manager Derek Swajanen said immediately after the game. “It’s tough seeing a teammate (go down) like that, but we’ll go over and see how he is.

“Then they all picked it up and did a good job.”

Menominee opened the scoring in the third inning with an RBI single by Kyle Porath.

Menominee pitcher Bryce Tharp faced the minimum through three innings. He went 5 2/3 innings and was tagged with the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits, striking out three but walking five.

Marquette broke through against Tharp for three runs in the fourth.

Blake Henriksen drove in a run with a double to get the Blues on the board, while Austin Wachnicki and Gadzinski followed with run-scoring singles to give Marquette the lead for good.

Two more runs in the top of the sixth made it 5-1 Marquette. Jay Oberg drove in a run with a single in that inning.

Menominee had a chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with one out, but Blues pitcher Jacob Rogers worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyout.

“JR came in and did a phenomenal job,” Swajanen said.

Larson got the pitching victory, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing one earned run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Rogers completed the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs, one hit and two walks while fanning two.

Henriksen, John Thomson and Holden Shaneberger each had two hits and one RBI, while Wachnicki had a hit and walked twice, scoring three times and also collecting an RBI. Oberg had two RBIs.

That was one of the few chances the Red Wave had after Porath’s RBI hit.