Homer-happy Marquette beats Keweenaw

SOUTH RANGE – Keweenaw got caught up playing longball with Marquette in the Little League District 11 Major (age 11-12) tournament Tuesday and will take the long way through the elimination bracket as a result.

Keweenaw had one homer, but Marquette had three and claimed the 6-4 victory.

“They just hit. You saw the blasts out to centerfield today. It was impressive,” Keweenaw manager Adam Loukus said, “It’s always fun to watch. It’s always difficult to watch when you know your pitcher would like to have that pitch back, but you have to take your hat off to them, because they could hit. It was impressive.”

Marquette racked up 11 hits, five of the extra-base variety, and had four kids with two apiece.

Drew Lindberg singled, stole second, took third on a throwing error and later came around to score to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth. Blake Henriksen singled and had a front-row seat for Jon Jason’s second homer of the day to give Marquette a 5-2 lead.

“He’s a line-drive hitter in most cases, he’s got some power, but today apparently he ate his Cheerios. He’s our everyday catcher, he’s back there battling every day, so it’s good to see that from him,” Marquette manager Don Erkkila said of Jason, who also hit a solo shot in the fourth.

Keweenaw battled back in the home half. Sam Erkkila’s lead-off double turned into an RBI fielder’s choice for Cole Gregoire. Landon Johnson doubled him in to cut it to 5-4 before Marquette got out of the inning.

In the sixth, Marquette tacked on an insurance run after Jake Peterson doubled and scored, giving Henriksen cushion to finish a complete game. Henriksen got around an early error with back-to-back fielder’s choices before shortstop Anthony Gerry speared a screamer off Sam Erkkila’s bat to end it.

Henriksen finished with four earned runs on four hits. He struck out eight and walked none.

“Against this team in particular, these guys swing the bat. That was our plan, you’ve got to keep the ball down against these guys and change speed because they hit,” Don Erkkila said.

Peterson, Lindberg, Jason and John Thomson all had two hits.

Marquette made the most of an already favorable draw. After getting a bye through Monday’s first round, they won’t play again until Thursday vs. an Ishpeming team that has already played 16 innings. The winner has a berth in the championship game Saturday.

Keweenaw must regroup for an elimination game at 7 p.m. tonight vs. Negaunee. Negaunee won the first shortened game of the tournament 10-0 in four innings over Penokee Range.

Carter Crouch homered for Keweenaw in the third and had two hits, Johnson had two hits and two RBIs.

Keweenaw’s error-free defense gives them something to build on.

“Other than giving up some big ones, I thought our defense came out well. Anything that we could make a play on, we did,” Loukus said.

Scott Loukus (three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings) took the loss in relief of Dean Loukus, who allowed two earned runs on five hits in three innings and struck out four.