Braves split with Marquette
MARQUETTE — In their regular season finale, Marquette and Gladstone split a high school baseball doubleheader in Marquette on Friday evening.
The Braves won the opener 8-0 before Marquette responded with a 3-2 walkoff victory in nine innings.
It was all Braves in the first game, as Gladstone scored early and often starting with three runs in the first inning.
Marquette pitcher Blake Henriksen struggled to keep runners off the basepaths at times, giving up another run in the second then four in the fifth.
But he didn’t get much support from his defense, as only two of Gladstone’s runs were earned since the Redmen committed four errors.
The MSHS batters didn’t do their pitcher any favors, either, only scratching out three singles.
Owen Hanson led the Braves at the plate, collecting two RBIs and scoring twice himself.
“We had a lot of timely and situational hitting,” Gladstone head coach Don Lauscher said.
“We still need to get a little more consistent at the plate and on defense.
“If we can get those figured out moving forward we will be just fine, especially the way our pitching has carried us all year.”
The Redmen responded with a dramatic extra-inning win in the nightcap to end their regular season on a high note.
With two outs and Marquette’s Keenan Johnson in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, the Braves decided to walk Hunter Doucette to get to Holden Shaneberger.
The Marquette junior made Gladstone pay for it, lining a blooper to the right field, scoring Johnson from second base to win it.
Redmen head coach Todd Koski said it was a relief to see his team’s focus finally pay off.
“The kids stuck with it,” Koski said. “We’ve been battling all year and we’ve been snakebit a few times with things not going our way. It’s finally nice for a bounce to go our way.”
After leaving runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, Marquette relief pitcher Tyler Delmont got three straight Braves out on just four pitches in the top of the ninth to give the Redmen momentum.
Delmont started the game behind the plate catching Redmen starter Garrett Finkbeiner.
The umpires determined heading into the bottom of the ninth that it would be the final inning due to the impending darkness, and Koski said that allowed his team to play a little risky.
“I wanted our kids and myself to have a sense of urgency that we needed the win more than the tie,” Koski said. “We let it all hang out. We were lucky to get a flare in at the end to get the ‘W.'”
Johnson started the final rally with a leadoff single, then used that no-holds-barred attitude by stealing second base two pitches later.
The next two batters struck out and popped out, sending Doucette up to get walked and eventually Shaneberger for the game-winning hit.
With the regular season done, the Redmen hit the road for the Lower Peninsula in Alpena to open MHSAA District 1 play.
“The keys are to build on the positives,” Koski said. “The regular season doesn’t really mean anything to us. It’s just steps getting to this. We’re getting better each week and we just need to limit our errors and we’ll be fine.”