Blues perform strong, take 2nd place

The 2019 Marquette Blues American Legion Baseball team. (Courtesy photo)

By Journal Sports Staff

RHINELANDER, Wis. — The Marquette Blues closed out their out-of-state road trip with a strong performance Sunday at the Rebel Invitational.

Marquette split two games, falling to Wausau Everest (Wis.) 10-7, but then bounced back to thump host Rhinelander 9-1. The Blues were in good shape to win the weekend event, but were edged out by one in the run differential rules and were forced to settle for second place.

Despite that, Blues head coach Derek Swajanen was pleased with how his team performed over the course of the weekend.

“It was nice to bring home some hardware and the boys played well,” he said. “We finished 3-1 on the weekend and even our (Marquette) Reds team played well. Our Legion program is really doing well this year.”

In the first game, Marquette got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the top of the first inning, but Everest answered back with four in the bottom of the frame.

The Blues rallied to tie the game at 4-4 in the third, but once again, Everest took the lead back with three runs in its half of the inning.

Trailing 8-4 in the fifth, Marquette pushed across two runs to cut its deficit to two. However, just like the previous two innings where the Blues scored, Everest fought back. It plated two runs in the bottom of the frame and then held on in the seventh to get the victory.

Jake Allard-Soucey was dealt the loss for the Blues after giving up three runs on six hits with one strikeout in three and two-thirds innings. Allard-Soucey came in relief of Blues starter Hogan Nemetz.

Blake Henriksen had the biggest bat for Marquette as he went 4 for 4 with three doubles, a RBI and three runs scored. Holden Shaneberger and Hunter Doucette also were strong at the plate with Shaneberger picking up two hits and driving in four runs, while Doucette had two hits, two RBI and a run scored.

“They got some runs on us early on and we had our chances, but just didn’t capitalize on them,” Swajanen said. “Blake was phenomenal though and I thought both Hogan and Jake pitched nicely.”

In the second game, the Blues’ bats were dominant again, and this time, they held their opponent at bay.

Tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth, Marquette scored two runs and then broke the game open with a six-run surge in the fifth to earn the blowout win over Rhinelander.

While the Blues were smashing the ball, Marquette pitcher Cooper Meyer was baffling Rhinelander hitters on the hill as he earned a complete game victory. Meyer gave up just one run on four hits with three walks and one strikeout.

Just about every Marquette batter had a hit in the game and the Blues hit five doubles. Jon Jason and Jakob Peterson were the offensive leaders with Jason going 2 for 4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Peterson had two hits, one being a double, along with a RBI and two runs scored, while Peter VandenAvond had two hits, including a double, along with two RBI and a run scored.

“It’s always nice to beat the host team in the primetime game,” Swajanen said. “Cooper did a nice job on the mound and those were the first innings he threw for us. He had great movement on the ball and has a nice arm.

“We also hit the ball well all weekend and hit lots of balls to the wall. Blake and Hunter both did great and it was nice to see Jon get going. Holden also looked good in both games.”

Marquette hosts the Negaunee Diamonds at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and will take on the Menominee Red Wave at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.