MARQUETTE - For seven innings Thursday, the Escanaba Cubs were cruising in their opening game of the state Class A American Legion baseball tournament at the North Marquette Complex.
Behind a a two-hitter by pitcher Trent Schwalbach, the Cubs held a 5-0 lead over the Menominee Red Wave.
Then disaster struck.
Matt Keiser | Marquette Mining Journal
Menominee’s David Beck tries to tag out Escanaba’s Ian Demarse at first base but fumbles the ball in his hand for an error during the Legion Baseball Class A State Tournament at Haley Field in Marquette, Thursday.
Menominee scored five runs in the top of the eighth to tie the score, then got an RBI single from Adam Saucier in the 10th to take an extra-innings, 6-5 victory.
The Cubs face tourney host Marquette Blues at 10:30 a.m. today in a loser's bracket game.
"We had that 5-0 lead and just had an eighth-inning blowup," Cubs manager Tom Ohman said. "Trent threw a gem and the plays were there to be made.
"We just didn't make them."
What looked like a sure double play grounder in the eighth was muffed, opening the door for the Red Wave to score five runs.
"It was a double-play ball and we blew it," Ohman said. "We've had trouble with errors all year. It came back to haunt us (today)."
Sean Budzynski slammed a three-run double to right-center to put Menominee on the board.
"That was a big play," Red Wave manager Tony Hofer said. "He has been hitting the ball well lately."
Menominee's Derek Reiswitz followed with a two-run single to left to tie the score and set up extra innings.
"It was a pretty quiet seven or so innings until we got some hits and made a little action," Hofer said. "Schwalbach was cruising."
The Escanaba hurler went 7 1/3 innings, allowing just six hits, a walk and striking out four. All five runs in the eighth were charged to Schwalbach, however, before reliever Matt Jensen came in to pitch.
"Trent only had 68 pitches going into the eighth," Ohman said. "It was his longest outing all season, but he was getting his curve and changeup over."
Menominee pitcher Riley Hegg, meanwhile, went all 10 innings. He gave up 11 hits, a walk and fanned eight.
"He was throwing well and didn't want to come out," Hofer said of Hegg's long mound stint. "He had good control and kept (Escanaba) off balance."
Nick Vandermissen went 4 for 4 with an RBI for the Cubs (16-15), who notched single runs in the third fourth and fifth innings before scoring twice in the seventh for the five-run advantage.
Teammate Alex DeHaan added two RBIs and Jensen hit an RBI-single.
The winner of the Escanaba-Marquette game was scheduled to play the Gladstone-Menomnee winner (10 a.m.) at 2 p.m. today.
"We'll have to fight real hard now," Ohman said.