Marquette Blues finish as Legion Class A champs

The Marquette Blues celebrate in a dogpile after defeating the Copper Country Flames to win the American Legion Class A Tournament championship Saturday in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)
The Marquette Blues’ Erik Johnson connects with a pitch during the American Legion Class A Tournament championship Saturday in Marquette. Johnson would go on to win the Hal Newhouser Tournament MVP award. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

MARQUETTE — It’s tough to beat a team on back to back days, let alone shut them out twice, but that’s what the Marquette Blues did Saturday.

After shutting down Copper Country 10-0 Friday behind a strong pitching outing from Erik Johnson, the Blues got another dominant day on the mound, this time from Dakota Maki, to smother the Flames again 10-0 and win the American Legion Class A State Tournament for the first time since 2015.

Maki threw a 5-inning no-hitter to notch the victory on the mound and Johnson earned the Hal Newhouser Tournament MVP award.

Copper Country defeated Rosebush 7-3 earlier in the day.

When asked what it took to get a state championship, Blues head coach Derek Swajanen said it came down to many things.

“The boys put a lot of hard work in,” he said. “That’s what it was. They put a lot of work in. The last two and a half, three weeks, they’ve just been really tough to beat. They’ve done a great job and they’ve continued to do it all year. And they’ve been building and building and their mental attitude is phenomenal. And that’s what it took.”

Marquette got on the scoreboard in the top of the first thanks to a solo homer by Peter VandenAvond and in the third inning, it started to pile on. The offensive surge started with an RBI single from Jakob Peterson and later, VandenAvond and Peterson scored on wild pitches.

Brock Taylor drove in another run with a double and the Blues picked up two more in the frame on a CC error.

The Blues plated two more runs on a fielder’s choice in the fourth and then capped off their win with a RBI single by Justin Wenk in the fifth.

Swajanen also coached the 2015 championship squad and said it’s nice to have pulled off a state title for the second time in six years.

“It makes me feel good that I’ve done it with two groups and not the same group,” he said. “It was funny because one of the parents said ‘Remember what you told me five years ago?’ I said ‘Not really.’ He said ‘In five years, my kid will win a state title.’ And he did.”

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


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