Blues get what they need with Zone 5 semifinal win

By Journal Sports Staff

ESCANABA — The weather prevented the playing of the championship game, but it didn’t stop the Marquette Blues from reaching their No. 1 goal.

Making the American Legion baseball state Class A tournament.

Blake Henriksen twirled a complete-game three-hitter as Marquette (21-12) blanked Menominee 7-0 in the zone semifinals in Escanaba on Saturday afternoon.

With Gladstone to be their opposition after the Indians dispatched Copper Country 9-4 in the other semi, the championship game was washed out by rain later in the afternoon.

It will be played at noon today, either in Escanaba or Gladstone.

But winning its semifinal game was all the Blues needed as two zone teams qualify for states to be played in Gladwin starting Thursday — the two that reached the championship.

“Blake is one of the best pitchers I’ve ever had up here (in the Upper Peninsula),” Marquette manager Derek Swajanen. “I knew the minute we got a 1-0 lead, (Menominee) was going to have its hands full.

“Three weeks ago, we clocked Blake at 89 (mph) on the (radar) gun, and I guarantee he hit 90 (Saturday). That something I just haven’t seen up here very much at all.”

Peter VandenAvond suppled Henriksen with all the support he would need, though the pitcher also was pretty solid at the plate.

VandenAvond went 3 for 3 with an RBI and three runs scored, while Henriksen went 2 for 3 with four RBIs and a run. The pair each stole a base while accounting for five of their team’s six hits, all singles.

Menominee supplied three walks, three hit batsmen and committed three errors while throwing two wild pitches.

Henriksen threw 105 pitches, 68 of them strikes as he walked one and struck out nine.

The Blues scored the winning run in the bottom of the first inning, making it 2-0 in the third and 4-0 in the fifth before a three-run outburst in the sixth.

Swajanen said just one Menominee runner made it to second base.

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