Season-ending split: Negaunee Diamonds, Marquette Reds each close out American Legion baseball seasons with a win

Marquette Reds first baseman Skyler Robertson, right, fields the ball as second baseman Jake Soucy comes in to back up the play during an American Legion baseball doubleheader against Negaunee on Tuesday evening at the Gerard Haley Memorial Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

“It’s a shame the season is over because as the weather gets better, we’ve played better.” — Jason Siik, manager, Negaunee Diamonds

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MARQUETTE — The American Legion baseball season came to an end for two area teams Tuesday night and appropriately, each one came out with a victory.

The Negaunee Diamonds and Marquette Reds split their doubleheader with the Diamonds winning the opener with a 13-0 blowout in five innings and the Reds taking the nightcap 4-2 in six innings.

In the second game, Reds pitcher Jay Oberg had a solid outing on the mound. In his last career start, Oberg threw a complete game, giving up six hits and striking out 10.

“Jay looked really good out there,” Reds manager Walt Smith said. “His control was good and he only had one walk. He made them earn it to get on base and if they did, we made the plays we needed to make.”

The Reds got on the board first with two runs from bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the first inning. Keenan Johnson led off with an infield single and scored on a walk by Oberg off of Diamonds starting hurler Tylor Robinson. James Bender then singled to center field and scored on a walk by Jake Soucy. Robinson took the loss for Negaunee as well after only pitching one inning.

Marquette extended its advantage to 4-0 in the third. Bender led off with an infield single and Lucas Kanerva was hit by a pitch. Later in the rally with Jon Jason at the plate, Bender and Kanerva both scored on back-to-back wild pitches by Diamonds reliever Erik Voskuhl.

“We’re a young team and we need to keep learning to get back in the game,” Smith said. “The first game, we didn’t do that and we forgot how to play the game. We talked during the break about it and we played much better ball in the second.”

Negaunee threatened for the first time in the fourth inning after Tanner Peterson was hit by a pitch and two batters later, Alex Munson lined a single up the middle. However, Peterson was tagged out at the plate after trying to score from second.

The Diamonds eventually got on the board in the fifth. Dre Tuominen hit a single and Voskuhl followed with a base hit. On an overthrow, Tuominen raced around to score from second.

Negaunee tried to keep the game going in the sixth on back-to-back singles by Laurin and Munson, but their one run wasn’t enough to keep the game going.

“It took us awhile to get going and Jay pitched a great final game for them keeping us off-balance,” Negaunee manager Jason Siik said. “We started to get going, but it was just too little, too late.”

In the opener, Negaunee started off with a bang as the Diamonds scored seven runs in their first at-bats. Up 9-0 in the top of the fifth, Laurin led off with a base hit to center field. After Munson reached base on a hit by pitch, Potvin and Carter Richardson followed with back-to-back RBI singles. Tuominen grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Potvin and two batters later, Robinson laced a single to left to score Richardson and complete the Diamonds’ scoring barrage.

Peterson picked up the victory on the mound for Negaunee after pitching a two-hit shutout with five strikeouts and five walks.

“Our first game was just great,” Siik said. “We came out with a lot of energy and it was exciting to see us play good, clean baseball. We had good quality at-bats and had a good approach. We didn’t swing at garbage and had some good swings. It was kind of a relief to see all the hard work that they put in pay off today.

“It’s a shame the season is over because as the weather gets better, we’ve played better. For having a young team, though, I’m really pleased. I thought we battled hard and there were a couple of games where we were overmatched against 19-year-olds, but I was happy. We didn’t hang our heads and kept working hard all year.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.