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Marquette, Baraga bow out in Little League Minors baseball tourney

Charlie Hrodey of Marquette, left, takes a throw at third base just as a Penokee Range runner reaches during a Little League Minors baseball tournament game held in South Range on Monday. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

SOUTH RANGE — After a busy weekend that saw Minor Division teams open the Little League District 11 baseball tournament, play resumed Monday at Veterans Field in South Range with two consolation bracket games involving teams that needed wins to stay alive.

Keweenaw faced Baraga and Marquette battled Penokee Range during the doubleheader.

Monday marked the third day of district play for the 8-to 10-year-olds in South Range. The year-end tournament hosted by the local Portage Lake Little Minors team features six all-star teams from the western part of the Upper Peninsula.

The tourney winner will head to downstate Dexter in August for the state Little League Minors tournament.

In Monday’s opener, Keweenaw crushed Baraga 20-2 in just three innings.

Marquette's Jonas Snapp, right, put the tag on a Penokee Range runner just as he reaches home plate during a Little League Minors baseball tournament game held in South Range on Monday. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)

Keweenaw, consisting of players from Calumet and Lake Linden, started off big with eight runs in the first inning. The runs came in on a combination of smart baserunning and poor fielding. In the second, Keweenaw tacked on 12 more in similar fashion.

In the nightcap, Penokee Range also continued in the consolation bracket by defeating Marquette, 11-9.

It was the all-stars from Marquette that got the first tally right away. Rightfielder Evan Brown reached first on an error in the opening inning and made it home on a combination of steals and wild pitches.

In the second, Penokee came back and took the lead with three runs. Pitcher Chase Lane and centerfielder Cory Aspinwall started off with back-to-back hits, then second baseman Trevyn McLaughlin walked. All three scored on wild pitches to make the score 3-1.

Keweenaw’s bats remained hot in the third as it tacked on another three runs with hits by Cayden Harju and Brendon Aukee.

However, Marquette was not without some magic of its own, posting three runs in that third to make the score 6-4 in Penokee’s favor.

That’s how that game stayed until the fifth, when Marquette added two runs to tie it 6-6. Trey Niemi got things started with a walk and stole second. He came in on a double by Cooper Anderson, who eventually made it home on a wild pitch.

With two outs in the top of the sixth, Penokee put together an impressive five-run rally. It started with walks to Kameron Grahm and Harju. Then Aukee got his second hit, as did Aspinwall, to bring in the runs before scoring themselves.

With just three outs to go, Marquette rallied, scoring three runs on two hits by outfielder Wes Robinson and second baseman Charlie Hrodey, but it wasn’t enough as Penokee held on for the victory.

In today’s games, Keweenaw faces Penokee Range in a consolation bracket game at 4 p.m. while Portage Lake takes on Negaunee in the winner’s bracket at 6 p.m.