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Marquette Blues, Marquette Reds each split games

MARQUETTE — Both the Marquette Blues and Marquette Reds split a pair of Upper Peninsula Under-19 Baseball League games on Thursday and Friday.

The Blues games Thursday evening and Friday morning in the league’s postseason tournament in Iron Mountain, while the Reds traveled to play at the Gladstone Junior Braves in a Thursday night doubleheader.

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Blues bounce back Friday

After falling just short in a comeback bid against Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday, the Blue bounced back for a 6-2 victory over Bark River on Friday morning.

In the Soo’s 6-5 victory, the eastern U.P. team raced to leads of 3-0 and 6-2 before Marquette fell just short of forcing extra innings.

The Blues’ big blows in their comeback were an RBI single by Brendan Kaski in the fifth inning and two-run double by Jon Jason in the sixth. They finished with 10 hits to the Soo’s nine.

Jason finished going 2 for 3 and was also hit by a pitch, while Connor Steer had a double and single in three at-bats, adding an RBI while getting walked. Another double was hit by Peter VandenAvond as he scored a run and drew a walk.

The Soo scored three in each of the first and third innings off Marquette starter Hogan Nemetz, who went 2 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs on six hits and four walks as he struck out three.

Jason and Jakob Peterson each went 1 2/3 innings. Combined, they didn’t allow a run off two hits and three walks as they teamed up to fan three. Kaski got the Soo’s final out.

In the win against Bark River, another Blues’ comeback was successful as they fell behind 1-0 in the first inning before tying the game in the third and taking the lead for good in the fifth with a total of six unanswered runs.

Sacrifice flies made the big difference for Marquette, as one hit by Eli Werner tied the game in the third and another by Jason sent the go-ahead run home in the fifth. BR scored its early run off an error.

In the Blues’ three-run sixth, VandenAvond, Jason and Werner each knocked in a run to make a winner of Erik Johnson, who pitched all seven innings, allowing two runs — just one earned — on four singles and four walks as he K’d six.

Peterson had two of Marquette’s five hits, going 2 for 3 with a walk, while Werner had a double, three RBIs and a walk. VandenAvond didn’t get a hit, but scored twice as he drew a walk, was hit by a pitch and stole a base.

Other Blues hits were singles by Steer and Hogan Nemetz, who each drew a walk as Nemetz also scored three times.

Adrian Mercier took the pitching loss for Bark River, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings. He walked four and struck out one.

The Blues had one more preliminary-round game scheduled against Menominee on Friday night before the tourney semifinals are set for noon EDT and championship at 2:30 p.m. EDT today.

The season has been scheduled to end with the tourney.

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Reds hit double digits twice

Marquette’s Brody Caster collected five hits in a high-scoring twinbill split at Gladstone on Thursday as the Reds fell 11-10 before coming back for a 12-10 eight-winning victory in the nightcap.

There were no more games listed on the schedule for the Reds this summer.

Caster also picked up the pitching win in Game 2, going the final two-thirds of an inning and allowing an earned run despite not giving up a hit as he walked two and struck out one.

The Reds never trailed in the nightcap, building an 8-2 lead in the middle of the fifth before Gladstone scored six runs in the bottom of the inning to tie it. With extra innings beginning in the seventh, each team scored in that inning to leave the teams deadlocked 9-9 going to the eighth.

Marquette got three runs in the top of the eighth, the tiebreaker on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Dallas Cobe. Two subsequent runs for the Reds were vitally important as Gladstone got one run back in the bottom of the inning before Marquette squelched that rally.

Earlier, the Reds’ Braiden Noskey hit an RBI single on a 1-0 count in the second, while Nick Pantti and Luke Mead each had RBIs in a four-run fifth.

Caster, Pantti and Noskey each finished with two hits as Marquette totaled nine singles while drawing 15 walks and stealing a whopping 16 bases. Pantti got three of the bases on balls, Noskey two and Caster one. In addition, Noskey had two RBIs and Pantti one to go with a team-leading five steals. Caster scored twice and stole three bases.

Other big stats put up by the Reds were by Cobe, with a hit, run, three walks and two steals; Jake Toyras, who was 1 for 1 with two runs, a hit-by-pitch and three steals; and Paavo Mannisto, who despite being hitless scored twice, drew two walks and a hit-by-pitch and stole three bases.

In Gladstone’s win in the opener, the Reds again led almost all the way, holding leads of 2-0 in the top of the first, 5-2 in the third and 10-4 in the fourth before the Junior Braves scored the game’s final seven runs, including two in the bottom of the sixth when they entered the inning trailing 10-9.

The Reds accumulated seven hits, including a double by Logan Peterson, while drawing five walks as Gladstone committed three errors.

Caster was 3 for 3 with an RBI, three runs and a steal, while Peterson and Mannisto each had two hits. Peterson also had two RBIs and a walk, while Mannisto had two RBIs, two runs and a steal. Pantti went hitless but still had two RBIs.

Pantti was tagged with the pitching loss as he didn’t get an out but gave up a hit in the sixth. Mannisto started and went six innings, allowing 11 runs — 10 earned — on seven hits and six walks as he also fanned six.

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

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