Golds hand Bucs fourth straight loss
BARK RIVER — The Iron Mountain Golds grabbed a 4-3 lead early and then added three more runs in the late innings to pull away for a 7-3 road win over Bark River Wednesday night in a nine-inning game in the Upper Peninsula Under-19 Baseball League.
The Golds (9-4) took advantage of multiple Bark River errors to jump ahead 2-0 in the top of the first, but the Bucs returned the favor scoring two runs on Golds errors in the bottom half of the inning to knot the score at 2-2.
Iron Mountain then surged ahead to a 4-3 lead at the end of the third and tacked on a single run in the sixth and two more in the eighth to seal the win.
“The beginning of the game was a tight game,” Golds manager Paul Juilan said. “We put a couple up right off the bat. They have a great program. All in all, it was a tight game. We got lucky to put some up at the end there.”
Caleb Johnson relieved Blake Julian in the second inning and earned the win on the mound, pitching eight strong innings in which he struck out seven while surrendering just two hits and two walks.
“He’s as solid as they come,” manager Julian said. “He’ll be pitching for UW-Oshkosh next year. We’re going to miss him. We’re losing him off our high school team because he graduated, so we’re enjoying him while we can because next year he will be age-eligible to play. We get him for one more year after this. He’s solid.”
Zach Englund got the start for the Bucs but was pulled before the start of the fifth inning when he felt like he pulled a muscle warming up. Wyatt Riley pitched the remainder of the contest, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out two and walking three.
“Zach started the game for us and pitched a good four innings, then he said he had a muscle pull or something. We kind of took him out as precaution, but I thought Zach pitched really well at the start of the game. There were a couple errors in the first inning that gave them a couple runs,” Bucs manager Matt Richer Jr. said. “Wyatt came in, and I don’t think he was expecting to pitch today, but he was throwing strikes and he kept us in the game. I thought he pitched a heck of a game.”
The Bucs (4-11), who dropped their fourth straight, were limited to just four hits on their second day of a back-to-back. They were swept at Menominee Tuesday after taking a long break off for the Fourth of July.
“We’ve been putting the bat on the ball,” Richer said. “We’ve been hitting the ball hard the last three or four games, it just seems like we can’t find a gap or anything. It seems like everything we hit is right to people or we get thrown out at second and stuff like that.
“The kids have been playing hard. I think we’ve been playing some pretty good baseball lately, stuff just hasn’t been going our way.”
Blake Julian was forced to leave the mound after not feeling well through just one inning of play.
“It’s a hot day, but everybody played well,” said Ed Felten, who shares managing duties for the Golds with Julian. “They had a full roster, we had 11 and everybody got to play. We had an injury early in the game that threw our rotation off on what we have planned. … We do have a game (today) against Gladstone so we held some things back obviously, but we look forward to seeing these guys at the tournament in Iron Mountain, and we’re just glad to be playing baseball again.”
Iron Mountain hosts Gladstone tonight at 6:30, while Bark River hosts Escanaba Tuesday.
“We definitely need to get back into it,” Richer said. “That’s probably the reason why we can’t really hit right now is we took so much time off. We’ll have a couple practices here in there just to get back in the flow of things, and then hopefully we can put on a good show against Escanaba.”