Capitalizing on break, Marquete Blues extinguish Copper Country Flames 10-0 in winner’s bracket of American Legion Class A state tournament

The Marquette Blues’ Erik Johnson pitches during an American Legion baseball Class A state tournament game against the Copper Country Flames on Friday at Haley Memorial Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

MARQUETTE — Sometimes in baseball, one break can change the course of a game.

Thankfully for the Marquette Blues, that break went their way during their American Legion Class A state tournament game Friday evening against the Copper Country Flames.

Leading 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Marquette’s Justin Wenk grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play. However, after a quick discussion between the umpires, it was ruled that CC first baseman Levi Frahm’s cleat came off the bag on the throw and Wenk was ruled safe.

Then the floodgates opened as the Blues scored six runs in the inning and went on to extinguish the Flames 10-0 in five innings.

With the win, Marquette moves into the championship round with the first — and possibly only — game of that round at 1 p.m. today.

“We had good barrels (on the ball) all day,” Blues head coach Derek Swajanen said. “It was just a continuation of what we’ve been doing. So we took advantage of that one mistake that they made and it kind of steamrolled from there. We had some infield singles, we had three of them, so the boys did a nice job.”

Marquette got its first run on a sacrifice fly by Jakob Peterson in the bottom of the first. Then in the second inning, three batters after the Wenk play, Erik Johnson drew a bases-loaded walk to push the Blues’ lead to 2-0. An errant CC throw led to two more runs and then another error brought two more runs home for Marquette.

With the Blues up by six runs now, Dakota Maki hit an RBI single and they held a 7-0 advantage going into the third.

The Blues picked up two more runs in the third on RBI singles by Wenk and Peterson, and in the bottom of the fifth Peter VandenAvond finished off the win with an RBI single.

While Marquette was pounding the ball at the plate, Johnson was keeping the Flames off the basepaths as he gave up only two hits and whiffed 12 batters.

“What else can you ask for?” Swajanen said about Johnson. “He was around the dish, he’s throwing hard, he had some off speed. Seventy pitches, 52 were strikes, he was dominant.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.


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