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Potent on offense: Marquette County Mavericks pound out a dozen hits in 13-2 victory over Negaunee Blasters in Superiorland Baseball League

Marquette County Mavericks player Jake Spear attempts a bunt in the second inning of a Superiorland Baseball League game against the Negaunee Blasters at Irontown Field in Negaunee on Monday night. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

NEGAUNEE — It’s hard to beat the Marquette County Mavericks and their potent offense.

The Negaunee Blasters learned that the hard way on Monday night, as the Mavericks cracked 12 hits to power to a 13-2 win and remain undefeated in the Superiorland Baseball League in a game played at Irontown Field in Negaunee on Monday night.

The Mavs improved to 7-0 with three weeks remaining in the regular season. The Blasters fell to 2-3.

The offensive outburst was backed by a strong outing from Mavericks starting pitcher Dave Speaker Jr., who went four innings, allowing one run on two hits. He struck out five Blasters hitters and walked three.

Speaker said he wanted to focus on pitching technique going in, rather than just hurling the ball over the middle of the plate.

Marquette County Mavericks pitcher Dave Speaker Jr. reaches mid-stride in his throw during the second inning of a Superiorland Baseball League game against the Negaunee Blasters at Irontown Field in Negaunee on Monday. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

“I know these guys (Negaunee) are good hitters and I came out really focusing on pitching, you know, not just throwing the ball,” he said. “I really tried mixing it up. I didn’t throw many fastballs. When I did, I was trying to locate them. The other stuff was working.”

Speaker had a strong night at the plate himself, going 2 for 5 with three runs scored and an RBI. It was a 5-1 game before the Mavericks batted around and pounded out eight runs in the sixth.

“The bats really came alive that inning,” he said. “Everybody hit and almost everybody scored that inning. It was awesome.”

The Mavericks managed seven of their 12 hits off of Negaunee starter Duane Englund, who went five innings and allowed seven runs, fanning five and walking seven.

Englund was pulled after failing to record an out and allowing two runs in the sixth. He was replaced by James Bender who went the rest of the way for the Blasters.

Blasters player-manager Brett Argall praised the Mavericks offense, while still crediting Englund with a solid night on the rubber.

“You have to tip your cap to the Mavericks,” he said. “Duane was pitching well but they were just making contact and putting the ball in play.

“Their pitcher (Speaker) was mixing his pitches really well and keeping us off balance. We didn’t string hits together and couldn’t cut away at that lead.”

It was a close game for the first few innings, with the Mavericks taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second after Englund gave up a bases-loaded walk to Jake Spear.

Marquette County made it 3-0 in the fourth after Spear hit an RBI single to center, scoring Speaker. Then Steve Hintsala hit a sacrifice fly to left field, bringing home Jacob Adriano after tagging at third.

The Blasters got on the board in the fourth when Jaren Kipling scored on a fielder’s choice and double play attempt. The Mavericks nabbed Julian Hornbach at second before trying to throw Brian Esquela out at first. The throw was low and went beyond the first baseman, allowing Kipling to finish rounding the bases from third.

The Mavericks followed that up with a two-run fifth thanks to a James Larsen single to center field, which scored C.J. Lepisto to make it 4-1, and Speaker coming home to score on an infield fly rule to make it 5-1.

A nine-hit sixth gave the Mavericks those eight runs, and put the mercy rule into effect going into the bottom half of the inning.

Adriano finished the game on the mound for the Mavericks, going the final two innings and allowing one run on one hit while striking out three and walking one. Negaunee’s second run was scored by Kipling again on a grounder by Argall.

Superiorland action continues Monday night, with the Mavericks facing the Channing Railroaders in Channing. Negaunee hosts Blagec Heating back at Irontown Field while Jill Leonard-State Farm faces Coldwell Banker-Craig Heinonen at the Forsyth Township Ball Field.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.