Uren, Larsen help Tri-City salvage split

NEGAUNEE – Zak Uren pitched 4 & 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and player-manager James Larsen II knocked in the tying and go-ahead runs to help the Tri-City North Stars salvage a split of a Wishigan League baseball doubleheader played at home on Sunday afternoon.

The Marinette Redbirds scored a 9-6 victory in the opener while Tri-City came back for a 7-5 win in Game 2 at Negaunee Irontown Field.

This may not be the last time these teams see each other, considering that Marinette has beaten the North Stars in the league playoff championship game each of the last three seasons.

In Tri-City’s win Sunday, Uren came on in the third inning for starting pitcher Preston Hutchens, who went 2 innings giving up five runs, including a first-inning solo homer to the Redbirds’ Pat Wolard and a bases-loaded triple to Steve Campbell in the third that put the visitors on top 5-3.

Tri-City got its early runs on a CJ Lipisto RBI double, a wild pitch that scored Aaron Adriano and Zach Niemi RBI single.

The North Stars began their comeback in the fourth inning, when Lipisto singled, Adam Brugman doubled and Chad Larson hit into a ground out that brought one run in. Larsen then tied the game with a single, making it 5-5.

In the sixth, Brugman again doubled, Larson reached on a fielder’s choice and after the latter stole second, Larsen sent both runners scampering home on a double.

Uren got the Redbirds out 1-2-3 in the seventh to preserve the win that improves the North Stars record to 6-4, 5-3 in Wishigan games.

Brugman, Larsen, Niemi, Adriano and Lipisto each had two hits.

In the opener, Adriano’s RBI single in the first gave Tri-City an early 1-0 lead.

Then after a Marinette sacrifice fly in the top of the third that tied it 1-1, the Stars struck for three more runs in the bottom of the inning with Adriano, Niemi and Jeremy Rae each getting run-producing singles.

But the visitors took the lead for good in the fifth on a three-run homer by Todd Olson, adding insurance with RBI singles in each of the remaining innings.

They needed it as Tri-City got two back in the bottom of the seventh on a Niemi RBI double and Rae RBI single.

Rae, Uren and Adriano each had two hits as Tri-City starting pitcher Adam Gannon went 4 1/3 innings before Hutchens came on to relieve him.

Next up for Tri-City is a game at the Channing Railroaders at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Last season, though Channing won both regular-season games, the North Stars won their playoff semifinal matchup to reach the championship game.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee.