Prep baseball: Oberg salvages downstate win for Marquette

TRAVERSE CITY – Freshman Jay Oberg picked up a complete-game victory in the final contest as Marquette won one of three games at the Traverse City Invitational high school baseball tournament over the weekend.

Redmen coach Todd Koski was pleased that MSHS (5-12) was competitive with three established Lower Peninsula teams, two of which are in Class A.

“They’re very good teams, so this is a huge step forward for us,” he said, adding that Marquette is almost always the younger team in any of its games.

“We had a freshman (Oberg) go the entire way to get the win over East Grand Rapids.”

The Redmen defeated EGR, 5-3, in Saturday’s second game of this round-robin event, with Oberg, allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out five.

The back-and-forth game featured three lead changes, as EGR took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Marquette came back in the top of the third for a 2-1 advantage then fell behind 3-2 by the end of the inning, and retook the lead for good in the sixth.

Junior Jake Olson had an RBI single in the Redmen’s two-run third, while freshman Jake Phillips, Oberg and junior Matthew Bammert all had singles in the decisive sixth-inning rally.

Junior Gabe Apple added an important insurance run in the top of the seventh with a line-drive double down the third-base line. The run was important because East Grand Rapids loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, only to see Phillips, playing shortstop, snag a liner out of the air and toss it to Bammert at second base for a game-ending double play.

Phillips finished with two hits, an RBI and run scored while EGR’s Steve Gillespie had three hits.

The tourney began on Friday evening when Marquette lost to Newaygo, 5-2. Despite the long trip south earlier in the day, the Redmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by Apple and RBI single by sophomore Brandon Lotterman in the first inning.

But several errors led to a pair of two-run outbursts by Newaygo in the next two innings.

“Things just seemed to snowball,” Koski said. “We started kicking the ball around, and then we got runners in scoring position several times and couldn’t get the big hit to bring them in.”

Apple took the pitching loss, going the distance and allowing six hits and five walks. Weston Butler had three of Newaygo’s hits.

Marquette opened Saturday with a 6-3 loss to tourney host and soon-to-be district tournament opponent Traverse City West.

The Redmen tied the game 3-3 in the top of the sixth when junior Jake Olson singled, Apple knocked him home with a double and came home on a single that included an error by sophomore Luke McAuliffe.

But TC West answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame to come up with the final result.

Marquette freshman reliever Jack Kochevar came on for Lotterman in the fifth and took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits and neither striking out or walking anybody.

Apple and sophomore Brendan Higbie each had two hits, with Apple collecting two RBIs.

MSHS plays a 4 p.m. Monday doubleheader at Negaunee.