Young players respond: Marquette Blues make it 3 wins in 2 days after beating Negaunee

The Marquette Blues’ Jon Jason hits the ball against the Negaunee Diamonds on Monday evening during an American Legion baseball game at Haley Memorial Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

“I’m really happy with the way these guys are coming together.” — Derek Swajanen, manager, Marquette Blues

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MARQUETTE — The Marquette Blues made it three wins in two days with a 10-5 victory over the Negaunee Diamonds in an American Legion baseball game played at Gerard Haley Memorial Field in Marquette on Monday evening.

A day earlier, the Blues traveled to Hancock and pulled off a doubleheader sweep of the Copper Country Flames.

The 5-0 Blues didn’t show any signs of fatigue after a late return following that road trip.

The Negaunee Diamonds' James Bender pitches to the Marquette Blues on Monday evening during an American Legion baseball game at Haley Memorial Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

One key to Monday’s success was a quality start on the mound from Garrett Finkbeiner that allowed them to build a 6-1 lead after two innings.

Marquette manager Derek Swajanen said his young players stepped up and got the job done.

“We didn’t get back until I think after 9 o’clock (Sunday night) so I was kind of wondering how the younger kids would do and they did a nice job,” he said. “Garrett did a really solid job on the mound. He’s going to throw strikes.

“We’ve also done, overall, pretty good defensive things and we’ve gotten a lot of good barrels on the ball the last three or four games. I’m really happy with the way these guys are coming together. Like I’ve said, they’re young and inexperienced, but we’re putting them in positions and they’re doing good.”

Diamonds manager Jason Siik said he was happy with his team for their first game of the season.

“I like us, I think we look good,” he said. “For the first game, we’ve got some new people in here trying to get some chemistry together. I’m really looking forward to this team growing.

“I think it’s going to be a really good team. We’ve got really nice arms and if we put a little better defense behind them, it’ll be a whole different game.”

Siik added that his players hit the ball hard.

“Our offense didn’t look too bad either,” he said. “We stung the ball. I think we’re in good shape and I’m confident.”

After the Diamonds opened with a run in the top of the first inning, the Blues answered with two runs in the bottom half.

Peter VandenAvond drew a walk, Jon Jason hit a single and with the runners moving up on an overthrow, Hunter Doucette’s infield single scored VandenAvond.

Marquette took the lead after Finkbeiner drew a bases-loaded walk.

The Blues tacked on four more in the second after Jakob Peterson opened the inning with a walk and stole second and third before coming home.

VandenAvond also got on via a walk, scoring on a line drive double to center field by Jason, who scored on a sacrifice fly by Blake Henriksen.

After a scoreless third, the Diamonds collected two runs in the fourth after Keenan Johnson opened with a walk that was followed by RBI doubles from Jacob Adriano and Tylor Robinson to cut their deficit to 6-3.

The Blues pulled away in the sixth with four runs to go up 10-3.

The Diamonds were able to get two back in the seventh after Tanner Peterson came home from third on a throw-out attempt at second and James Bender scored on a sac fly. But Marquette pitcher Hogan Nemetz closed things out on the mound to preserve the win.

Finkbeiner went six innings for the Blues, allowing three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Bender started on the rubber for the Diamonds, going five innings and allowing six runs on seven hits, fanning two and walking five.

Jason went 3 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Blues, while Tyler Delmont and Alec Gadzinski each had two RBIs. VandenAvond also came around to score three times.

Robinson went 3 for 3 for the Diamonds with a double and an RBI, while Adriano was 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored. Keenan Johnson and Eric Anderson each added an RBI.

The Blues hit the road for a game at Norway today while Negaunee hosts Bark River for a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.