Defense at times lacks in Marquette Blues’ American Legion baseball doubleheader split with the Copper Country Flames

MARQUETTE — Defense — or the lack of it — spelled the difference in an American Legion baseball doubleheader played at Marquette’s Gerard Haley Memorial Field on Sunday afternoon.

The host Blues committed six errors in a 9-8 loss in the opener against the Copper Country Flames, while their guests committed the same number of miscues in Marquette’s 12-2 victory in the nightcap.

The Blues (3-1) had a chance to win the opener, moving the tying and winning runs into scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning before a strikeout ended the game.

Jon Jason and Hogan Nemetz were hit by pitches in Marquette’s seventh around a pop out and ground out. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third before a called third strike ended the game.

“We didn’t execute well and stranded a lot of runners in the first game,” Marquette manager Derek Swajanen said. “Then things looked a lot better in the second game.”

A bit of wildness hurt each pitching staff.

In the opener, the Flames’ Kade Farrell hit four batters and walked four more while going the distance as he only allowed four earned runs on six hits and had five strikeouts.

Marquette’s starter, Brendan Kaski, took the loss as he gave up five runs — only two earned — on seven hits and four walks while fanning one.

He and relievers Jake Allard-Soucey and Jon Jason combined to walk five and hit a batter.

In Game 2, each team walked seven as CC also hit two more Blues batters.

In the opener, Marquette scored four times in the bottom of the third to take a 4-3 lead before CC scored six runs over its next two times up to go ahead for good.

Three Flames each had three hits and an RBI — Farrell, Justin Norkol, who had a double, and Nick Horning.

The Blues’ Connor Steer and Hunter Doucette each had a double and a single as Steer collected four RBIs and Doucette two to go with two runs scored and two stolen bases.

In the nightcap, Marquette jumped out to a 5-1 lead after two innings, adding four more in the fourth before invoking the 10-run rule with none out in the sixth.

Kyle Frusti went the distance for the pitching victory, scattering seven hits and seven walks while striking out two. Eli Oldt was the first of two CC pitchers as he allowed five runs, three earned, on two hits and three walks as he fanned two. Dylan Horning went the final two innings for the Flames.

Doucette and Jakob Peterson each had two hits for Marquette, with Doucette getting a double and knocking in three runs while Peterson tripled, knocked in two, scored twice and got a sacrifice bunt and stolen base.

CC’s Jonah Horning went 3 for 3 while Oldt and Dylan Horning had RBIs and Farrell and Nick Horning scored runs.

The Blues travel to Bark River-Harris for a doubleheader at 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday before coming home to host Iron Mountain in a 5 p.m. Thursday twinbill.

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