Blues go 2-1 in Wisconsin before storms cut weekend short

MARQUETTE – Severe thunderstorms in North Central Wisconsin cut the Marquette Blues American Legion baseball team’s trip short Saturday, but the club still returned to the Upper Peninsula with a 7-0 victory over Marshfield.

The Blues’ scored six runs in the top of the first inning for starting and winning pitcher Riley Lynch, who allowed just three hits over the shortened four-inning contest. Lynch struck out six and walked three of the 18 batters he faced.

Derek Stone, Ryan Hanson, McKinley Larson, Levi Underwood and Ryan Walther accounted for the Blues’ five hits with Hanson, Larson, Underwood, Sam Leow and Colton Wiggins being credited with an RBI. Walther, batting seventh, came home to score twice.

“We looked much better today right from the start,” Marquette Blues manager Derek Swajanen said. “When Hunter got beaned on the first pitch of the game, I had a good feeling that we were going to take advantage of their mistakes and that’s exactly what we did. We put the pressure on their defense early and were able to capitalize. Then Riley came in threw real well to get the win.”

The victory on Sunday gave the Blues a 2-1 record on the weekend that included a split with Antigo, Wisconsin on Friday.

Marquette dropped its first game against Antigo, 4-3, after giving up all four runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The Blues led 2-0 after five and a half innings, surrendered three runs in the bottom of the sixth, tied the game in the top of the seventh and then gave up the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Hanson was 2 for 3 for Marquette with two RBIs and two runs scored in the opener. He hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth give Marquette a 2-0 lead.

Trevor Bratonia took the loss for Marquette in Game 1 on Friday, giving up three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and five walks.

In Game 2, Marquette routed Antigo 15-0, scoring all its runs in the fourth inning and beyond, including seven in the seventh.

McKinley Larson finished 4 for 5 at the plate with six RBIs and three runs scored. He was a home run short of the cycle, recording a single, double and two triples.

Payton Lebombard only gave up four hits in seven innings of work for the win in Game 2. He struck out four and walked two batters.

“In the first game, we had the bases loaded a couple of times with either zero or one out and were only able to plate one run out of it,” Swajanen said. “You can’t do that and expect to win. We basically handed them the game with our lack of offense and an error at a crucial time of the game.

“In game 2, we did a much better job of getting things done properly. Payton threw a lot of strikes and was always working from ahead, which is really huge from a pitching perspective. He got a lot of easy grounders and fly balls because they had to swing at his pitch.”