PL Juniors force deciding game
MARQUETTE – What a difference a day can make.
Just 24 hours after smacking visiting Portage Lake 11-1 in District 11 baseball tournament action, the Marquette Junior All-Stars (age 13-14) dropped a 7-1 decision to the Houghton County team at Haley Memorial Field Tuesday night.
The two teams will now meet for the district championship at 6:30 tonight in Marquette.
“We just had too many walks and weren’t disciplined at the plate,” Marquette manager Bill Finkbeiner said. “We had 13 hits Monday and just one tonight.
“We just couldn’t get anything together.”
A major reason why was Portage Lake pitcher Carter Puuri. He went 6 2/3 innings before being removed due to a 96-pitch count, striking out eight while walking three.
“If he’s on, he’s on,” Portage Lake manager Jim Cortright said. “If he’s not, we’ll only get one inning from him.
“But tonight, he only had 40 pitches through four innings, and had innings of six and eight pitches.”
Puuri allowed but an infield single to Garrett Finkbeiner in the fifth inning after Portage Lake had scored four runs in the top of the frame to take a 5-0 lead.
Bryce Turner slammed an RBI-double in the second, then Portage Lake got RBI-walks from Jordan Reynolds and Lee Markham in the fifth before Jaden Janke slapped a two-run single.
“We’re definitely better than we were (Monday night),” Cortright said. “We gave up a lot of runs, but we were really bad in the field. We had eight errors.
“But you can’t ask anything more out of the kids than what they did (Tuesday night). Hopefully, we’ll play well (tonight).”
Puuri drove in a run to make it 6-0 in the sixth with his second single of the night, then Marquette notched its only run on a Joey Phillips bases-loaded fielder’s choice in its half of the frame.
Pat Cortright ended the scoring with a bases-loaded walk for Portage Lake in the seventh.
“They’re a good team,” Bill Finkbeiner said of Portage Lake. “Their kid (Puuri) almost pitched a full game, which is rare.
“Portage Lake also made us throw a lot of pitches. But we’ll be ready (tonight). We have a lot of pitching left.”
In Monday’s game, Garrett Finkbeiner took the mound win for Marquette. He scattered five hits over 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
Phillips went 3-for-4 with a double and drove in four runs to lead Marquette offensively. Finkbeiner (three RBIs) and Alec Gadzinski (three runs scored) also rapped out three hits each for the winners.
Portage Lake scored its lone run in the first on an error. Markham absorbed the mound loss.