Legion baseball: Marquette Blues split in Escanaba tourney

ESCANABA – The Marquette Blues American Legion baseball team made a bid for a sweep of its games on the opening day of the Gregg Johnson Memorial Tournament, but couldn’t hold off a 16-time state champion in its opener.

Midland Berryhill defeated the Blues 6-1 after the game was tied 1-1 when rain forced a 70-minute delay after the third inning.

“Our kids did a heckuva job against a team that I understand won the Legion World Series two years ago,” Blues coach Derek Swajanen said. “We had them on the ropes for awhile there.

“With all the work our kids have put in, it’s nice to see it starting to pay off.

I was really proud of my boys today.”

Marquette bounced back with an easy 10-0 victory in their second game Friday against the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Black Sox.

McKinley Larson went the distance on the mound against Midland despite the interruption.

“(Berryhill) scored a unearned run on a dropped pop-up in the fourth, then they put together a big rally in the seventh,” Swajanen said.

Trevor Bratonia pitched a two-hit shutout in the win against the Canadian team.

Marquette continues pool play today with games against Chief Pontiac of downstate Oakland County at 12:15 p.m. in Gladstone and at host Escanaba at 4:45 p.m.

The top two teams from each five-team pool advance to Sunday’s semifinals at 10 a.m. The championship game is set for Escanaba at 1 p.m.