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Bucs bagged by Blues in fourth

Todd Rose | Daily Press Bark River Bucs manager Matt Richer Jr. meets atop the mound with the infield players Tuesday evening during a game against the Marquette Blues in Bark River.

BARK RIVER — A long fourth inning put an American Legion baseball game out of reach for the Bark River Bucs here Tuesday night in an 11-1 loss to Marquette Blue.

Marquette, taking advantage of four walks, scored seven times in the fourth frame of this regular-season finale.

The Blues (17-7) face host Escanaba in an Upper Peninsula zone tournament opener Thursday at 5 p.m. The Bucs (6-10) then meet Negaunee at 8 at Al Ness Field.

“The guys did a nice job,” said Marquette manager Derek Swajanen. “We had a lot of guys pitch which is what we wanted to do tonight. In the last half-dozen games we’ve been putting the barrel on the ball and getting a lot of gap shots. We wanted to put everything together and that’s what we’re doing now. Hopefully, we can gain a U.P. title, although Sault is a tough match-up and Iron Mountain is very good.”

Wyatt Riley scored Bark River’s lone run on a throwing error in its half of the fourth.

“We used this as a tune-up for the tournament,” said Bark River manager Matt Richer, Jr. “We pitched a new guy every inning because we wanted to save as many arms as we could for this weekend. Marquette has a good team, and they had a new pitcher every couple innings. We couldn’t get any hits, and they took advantage of our wildness. We hadn’t played in eight to nine days. Before the break, we had been playing pretty good baseball.”

Marquette collected seven hits, including two by Peter VandenAvond.

Bark River finished with just three hits, including a two-out double to left field by Nick Javurek in the sixth.

Marquette’s Kyle Frusti, a Superior Central graduate, left the contest in the fourth due to a hand injury.

In Friday’s games, Bark River faces Esky at 11 a.m. The Blues then meet Copper Country at 2 p.m. and Bark River at 8 in Escanaba.

Gladstone hosts Dickinson County Thursday at 6 and the Sault Ste. Marie-based Eastern U.P. Wood Ducks Friday at 4.

The tourney resumes Saturday with the semifinals with the championship game taking place Sunday.

Marquette, plus the top two finishers in the zone tournament, qualify for the Class A state tourney July 29-31 in Marquette.

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