Zoned in for success: Marquette Blues, Negaunee Diamonds play in Zone 5 tourney looking for berth in American Legion baseball Class A state finals

The Marquette Blues' Brady Wright moves down the third-base line as Bark River's Nick Javurek fields what turned out to be a foul ball on July 14 at the Gerard Haley Memorial Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

ESCANABA — The area’s two American Legion baseball teams will play in the same division of this week’s Zone 5 tournament, but that doesn’t mean both couldn’t reach the finals and even advance to the Class A state tournament that takes place in the Upper Peninsula a week later.

The Marquette Blues and Negaunee Diamonds play in the Escanaba Division of the zones, the qualifying tournament for the state finals. Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie join them.

In the Gladstone bracket will be Gladstone, Bark River, Menominee and Copper Country.

Teams will play three pool games in the city named for their bracket, one game Thursday and two more Friday, according to zone administrator Mike Trickey of Marquette.

Two teams advance out of each division. The top tiebreaker will be head-to-head matchups, followed by fewest runs allowed, run differential, and lastly, a coin flip.

The Negaunee Diamonds' Carter Richardson makes a throw to first base to complete a double play against the Marquete Blues during the Mid-Pen League American Legion baseball championship game on Sunday at Gerard Haley Memorial Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

Semifinals and finals are set for Saturday afternoon. Semifinal matchups will pit the winner of each division against the runner-up of the other division.

The combatants in the Zone 5 championship game won’t face a lot of pressure, though, knowing that both are headed to the state tournament to be played in Menominee from Aug. 1-4.

That’s because this Upper Peninsula zone has been given two spots in the Class A state tournament, and actually a third as Menominee is guaranteed a spot as host.

Because of that, organizers have a third-place game on standby if Menominee reaches the championship game. If that happens, the third-place zone team would actually be the second-best team to have earned a spot.

Here is the schedule:

Escanaba Division — Negaunee vs. Escanaba, 4 p.m. Thursday; Marquette vs. Sault Ste. Marie, 7 p.m. Thursday; Negaunee vs. Soo, 11 a.m. Friday; Marquette vs. Escanaba, 2 p.m. Friday; Marquette vs. Negaunee, 5 p.m. Friday; Escanaba vs. Soo, 8 p.m. Friday

Gladstone Division — Gladstone vs. Menominee, 4 p.m. Thursday; Bark River vs. Copper Country, 7 p.m. Thursday; Menominee vs. CC, 11 a.m. Friday; Gladstone vs. Bark River, 2 p.m. Friday; Bark River vs. Menominee, 5 p.m. Friday; Gladstone vs. CC, 8 p.m. Friday

Semifinals — Escanaba Division winner vs. Gladstone runner-up, noon Saturday at Escanaba; Gladstone Division winner vs. Escanaba runner-up, noon Saturday at Gladstone

Championship/third place — championship, 3 p.m. Saturday at Escanaba; 3rd-place game (if necessary), 3 p.m. Saturday at Gladstone

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.