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Marquette Blues sweep Upper Peninsula Under-19 Baseball League opening twinbill at Hancock

HANCOCK — The Marquette Blues opened their season with a sweep of the Copper Country Flames in an Upper Peninsula Under-19 Baseball League doubleheader played at the Driving Park in Hancock on Tuesday evening.

Though these are essentially American Legion teams, they are independent squads this summer with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, playing a compressed schedule that includes a tournament in the Escanaba this weekend and another set for the Iron Mountain area in about a month.

On Tuesday, the Blues won the opener 10-6 in a regulation seven-inning game before taking a 4-3 victory in the nightcap that was shortened to two innings due to darkness.

In the opener, the visiting Blues broke a 6-6 tie with four runs in the top of the seventh, the first run of the rally scoring on an error.

Marquette opened the scoring with a run on an RBI double by Eli Werner in the first inning, then making it 3-0 in the top of the fourth before the home team took a 5-3 advantage in the bottom of the inning.

Trailing 6-3 entering the sixth, the Blues evened the score with three runs that included an RBI single by Jakob Peterson.

Clayton Smith started and pitched three no-hit innings for Marquette but didn’t figure in the decision. He struck out five and walked five.

Hogan Nemetz went the next three innings and got the pitching victory despite allowing five earned runs on four hits and three walks as he fanned two. Jon Jason came in for the save, pitching the seventh inning without a run nor hit as he K’d two.

Four players each had two of Marquette’s 12 hits — Werner and Blake Henriksen, each with a double and single, and Peterson and Jason, both with two singles.

Werner knocked in three runs and scored one, while Henriksen had two RBIs and two runs. Nemetz, who went hitless, drew two walks, scored twice and knocked in a run.

Henriksen also was hit by a pitch and stole two bases.

In the nightcap, the Blues scored four runs in the top of the first and hung on after CC got three back in the bottom of the second.

Nemetz tripled, knocked in a run and scored, while Peter VandenAvond and Kyle Frusti each had singles with VandenAvond scoring a run and drawing a walk. Eric Johnson had two RBIs and Werner one without either getting a hit.

Henriksen pitched both innings for Marquette, allowing three earned runs on just one hit as he struck out six and walked two.

The Blues play again at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the league’s kickoff tournament with a game at Gladstone. Marquette also plays a doubleheader in the Escanaba area on Saturday afternoon with one more game Sunday morning.

The associated Marquette Reds won’t be in that tournament, but do start their season tonight with a doubleheader at Menominee at 6 p.m. EDT and another twinbill at Bark River at 6 p.m. EDT Thursday.

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

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