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Marquette Blues fall in league tournament semifinals Saturday

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Marquette Blues were eliminated by Gladstone 4-3 in the semifinals of the Upper Peninsula Under-19 Baseball League tournament on Saturday afternoon.

In the decisive seventh inning, Gladstone erased a 3-2 deficit with two runs in the top of the inning and stopped the Blues from scoring in the bottom half to end Marquette’s season.

Marquette clinched its berth in the semifinals in another one-run game, a 5-4 victory over Menominee on Friday night.

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Gladstone 4, Blues 3

In this back-and-forth game, the Blues scored a run in the first inning before Gladstone took a 2-1 lead in the second. Marquette tied it in the fourth and took a 3-2 lead in the fifth with single runs in each of those innings.

Kyle Frusti led Blues’ hitters, going 3 for 3 with a double and stolen base. Teammate Brendan Kaski had a double, scored a run and had a steal, while Peter VandenAvond, Jon Jason, Eli Werner and Erik Johnson each had singles. Johnson and Clayton Smith each had an RBI, Smith getting his on a sacrifice fly, while VandenAvond scored a run.

Frusti took the pitching loss, going the final inning, allowing an earned run on two hits with a walk. Jason started and pitched the first six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks as he struck out two.

Zach Hanson recorded the pitching win for Gladstone, getting just one out with zeroes across the board, in relief of starter Drake Forrest, who gave up three runs — two earned — on eight hits as he fanned four in 6 2/3 innings.

Blake Krouth led Indians hitters, going 3 for 3 with a run and walk.

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Blues 5, Menominee 4

Marquette built a 5-0 lead only to watch it nearly evaporate as the Maroons scored three times in the bottom of the fourth and another in the sixth.

In the Blues’ two-run first inning, Jason singled in a run.

Kaski was Marquette’s hitting leader, going 2 for 2 with two stolen bases and a walk, while Smith and Connor Steer each had doubles among the team’s seven hits.

Steer, Werner, Jason and VandenAvond each had an RBI, VandenAvond’s on a sacrifice fly, while Steer, Frusti, Smith, VandenAvond and Hogan Nemetz each scored a run.

For Menominee, Ethan Russell, Andrew Schroeder and Keagan Monroe each had RBIs in their fourth-inning rally.

Smith earned the pitching win, going five innings and allowing three earned runs on five hits and six walks as he K’d four. Frusti got the save, going two innings and giving up one earned run on two hits and a walk. The defense behind them didn’t commit an error.

Jaden Werner took the loss for the Maroons, starting and going 6 1/3 innings and allowing five earned runs on six hits and four walks as he fanned two.

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

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