Copper Country prevails: Garnet Garage outscores Marquette County Mavericks 8-6
By EDDIE O’NEILL
Houghton Daily Mining Gazette
STANTON — For the casual fan in the stands at the Upper Peninsula Men’s Baseball Championship game in Stanton on Sunday, it would have been hard to tell that the nine men on the field for Garnet Garage had not played together in close to a month.
Their last game was in mid-August for their Twilight League championship win. On Sunday, they picked up right where they left off and downed the Marquette County Mavericks for the U.P. title, 8-6.
The Mavericks won their crown in the Superiorland Baseball League, which is based in and around Marquette County.
Interestingly, both teams had just one loss in the respective leagues over the entire summer, and it was evident in the back-and-forth matchup that ensued on the diamond in Stanton.
Garnet Garage’s victory was one that followed a well-worn map — one that earned them the Leo Durocher Trophy and a first-place finish atop their league.
“Good defense, timely hitting and strong pitching has been the key to our success all year,” Garnet Garage player-manager Kevin Bostwick said. “We did it here again today.”
With Coy Budweg on the mound for Garnet and Jeff Krejcik pitching for the Mavericks, the game was scoreless through two innings. Then each team strung hits together to make it a 1-1 after three.
Garnet Garage took the lead in the fifth after Bostwick was hit by a pitch and made it home on a Brent Loukus single. However, its 2-1 lead was short lived as Marquette plated three runs in the sixth and took their first lead, 4-2, headed to the seventh.
A walk in that frame to Mavs’ first baseman Jason Adriano was followed by a single by Sam Prentice and another walk to Krejcik. With the bases loaded, hits by shortstop Chris Atkins and Doug Turnbull brought home all three of those runners.
Marquette’s lead didn’t last long as Garnet Garage kept to its “road map” in the top of the seventh and posted three runs.
Bostwick scored his second run of the game, as would Reed Heathman, who reached on a walk, and catcher Mike Saari, who had an RBI hit. Garnet Garage suddenly led 5-4.
Budweg went the distance in this nine-inning matchup, striking out seven and walking just three. He shut down Marquette in the seventh and eighth, allowing only one man to get to first. Meanwhile, Garnet added another run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to make it a four-run hill to climb for the Mavericks in their last at bat.
While back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth did lead to Adriano and catcher Will Sharp scoring, it proved to be too little, too late.
“It was a great game,” Mavericks player-coach James Larsen II said. “The better team won today, hats off to them.”
With another diadem in their summer of winning, Bostwick summed up Garnet Garage’s accomplishments quite simply.
“It was a great season,” he said. “We had a lot of fun and hope to be as strong next year.”