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Bucs hold off Cubs’ rally

Justin St. Ours | Daily Press Bark River’s Noah Gorzinski hits a line drive against Escanaba Friday in Escanaba.

ESCANABA — Noah Gorzinski and Nick Javurek combined for a one-hitter as the Bark River Bucs hung on for a 2-1 American Legion baseball victory over the Escanaba Cubs in the Upper Peninsula Zone 5 tournament.

Gorzinski pitched five innings of no-hit ball until yielding a run and a single to centerfield to Hunter Lancour in the sixth.

“I was struggling to find my curveball and went to my fastball,” said Gorzinski. “Fortunately, our team was backing me up. I had faith in Nick to get it done in relief. Defensively, this is the best we ever played.”

Gorzinski struck out seven and walked four before Javurek retired the Cubs in order in the seventh.

“Noah pitched a heck of a game,” said Bucs’ manager Matt Richer. “I think he showed today how good a pitcher he is. Noah got a little tired in the end. We needed somebody to close the door, and Nick threw strikes.”

This was the second straight pitcher’s duel for the Cubs, who edged Marquette 1-0 behind the one-hit pitching of Grant LaMarche Thursday.

Hunter Lancour, who absorbed the loss, fanned nine, walked three, hit a batter and allowed two runs on six hits through 6 2/3 innings.

The Bucs (8-10), who didn’t commit any errors Friday, took advantage of two walks and two fielding errors and scored both of its runs with two out in the opening frame.

John Robinette gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead on a double to right-center, and Wyatt Riley added an RBI double along the rightfield line.

“Not making a play to get out of that inning made Hunter throw 15 more pitches,” said Esky manager Jon Bintner. “Hunter got stronger after the first inning and got our little rally going in the sixth. Noah was doing a good enough job avoiding the big contact, although we weren’t squaring up on the ball very well.”

Ian Gorzinski had two hits for the Bucs, who stranded nine baserunners. Esky (7-11) left four, including runners on first and second in the sixth.

“It’s too bad we couldn’t get a clutch hit in that situation,” said Bintner. “We have two important games left and have to go after two Ws. So far, we gave up only two runs. We’re doing well in that regard.”

Tyler Lawson scored Esky’s run on a sacrifice fly to right by Riley Lamb.

Esky hosts Negaunee today at 1 and Copper Country tonight at 7.

Bark River, which played Marquette Friday night, returns to Al Ness Field to face Copper Country this morning at 10.

The semifinals take place Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Escanaba and Gladstone.

Escanaba will then host the third-place game, and Gladstone will host the championship contest at 1:30 p.m.

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