Bucs come up short against Blues

Justin St. Ours | Daily Press Bark River’s Wyatt RIley slides safely into third against Marquette Tuesday in Bark River.

BARK RIVER — The Bark River American Legion baseball team refused to give up, but on the brink of tying it up, was struck down by the whims of fate. The Marquette Blues hung on to pull out a 7-6 win against the Bucs here Tuesday.

After the Blues scored three runs in the first inning and added one more in the third, the Bucs slowly chipped away to trail by just one at the end of the sixth.

“We didn’t pitch very well in the first inning,” Bucs’ manager Matt Richer said. “We walked a couple guys and couldn’t find the strike zone. Then, Zach Englund came in and got a crucial out to end the first inning and kind of stabilize us. He pitched really well and gave us a chance to win.”

With Bark River in striking distance in the seventh, Marquette (16-12) drew two walks and capitalized on two errors as Jakob Peterson drove home Kyle Frusti and Jacob Soucy. Blake Henriksen then singled to score Peter VandenAvond to give the Blues a 7-3 lead with half an inning remaining.

Josiah Javurek singled down the third base line and Zach Englund drew a walk to put two on base to start the bottom of the seventh. Matt Richer Jr. then doubled on a deep shot to center field to score Javurek and Englund to cut the Bucs’ deficit to 7-5. Nick Javurek and Peterson both singled to put two on base after Richer Jr. was tagged out. While Mason Korhonen was up to bat, Nick Javurek scored on a wild pitch to bring the Bucs (6-13) within one. Korhonen then hit a ground single, and Wyatt Riley crossed home only to be called out after he made contact with the Bucs’ third base coach as he rounded third, eliminating his tying run and giving the Blues the win.

“Wyatt tripped and kind of slipped over the base, and hit our third base coach who kind of re-routed him,” Richer said.

“Sometimes when you’re looking for a win, you find ways to lose. We made a good comeback at it, and Marquette’s a pretty good team. I like our effort.”

Blues’ manager Derek Swajanen explained the team has recently shifted attitudes.

“With all the tournaments we’re going to be in, we’ve kind of taken a 0-0 start mentality, and it’s been working out well for us,” he said. “We’re 3-0 so far.”

Richer Jr. took the loss for the Bucs over 2/3 of an inning, allowing two hits, two walks and three runs. Englund pitched in relief for 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two walks and one run while striking out one. Korhonen pitched the final inning, allowing two hits, two walks and three runs.

Richer Jr. collected three RBIs and two hits, and Riley finished with three hits and an RBI.

Henriksen earned the win for the Blues over two innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out three. Cooper Myers pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief, striking out one and allowing nine hits, five walks and five runs. Peterson notched two RBIs and one hit, and Henriksen collected four hits and an RBI.

“Cooper came in and did a real nice job after he got settled,” Swajanen said.

“He hadn’t thrown in probably two weeks. So, it was nice to see there. Then, we just kind of hung on by our fingernails there. We were a little thin on pitching after all the games we’ve played, so it was nice to see Cooper come in.”

Bark River is off until Tuesday when it hosts Niagra, while Marquette hosts Iron Mountain today after a veteran’s picnic.