Marinette Uses Late Game Fireworks To Beat Menominee
In the annual M&M legion baseball game on July 4th, Marinette hosted Menominee Tuesday. With the old timers' game going to the Menominee side 10-3, it was up to the current Marinette team to defend their home field. Coach Brian Lesindrini put the ball in the right hands with ace starter Matt Osterberg on the bump. Osterberg took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning where he finally surrendered a single. With six complete, Menominee held a 3-2 lead before the fireworks were finally set off.
Between Osterberg and Menominee starter Bryce Tharp, both opposing offenses struggled to get anything going. Through the first five innings of play, Osterberg allowed just two base runners while Tharp let just four reach safely. It was in the sixth inning Menominee used a different strategy to get on the board.
"We knew we weren't going to get too much off Osterberg, we knew that. He's a good pitcher and tough to hit. It was 0-0 in the fourth inning so we said, "Let's play some small ball against him' and it started to work," said Menominee coach John Lauzer.
Menominee's Adam Nolde finally cracked the Osterberg code for the Red Wave's first hit of the game. Nathan Nowack sacrificed Nolde over and on the play reached safely thanks to an error. Nolde went onto third and Menominee was in business with no outs. Levi Kempka perfectly executed a squeeze bunt as Nolde sprinted home and scored. Kempka registered the first RBI of the game and Nolde had the first run scored. A passed ball allowed Nowack and Kempka to enter scoring position at second and third. Number three hitter Jason Janquardt laced a single to score both Nowack and Kempka for a 3-0 Menominee lead. Osterberg shut down the rally with three straight strikeouts, but the damage had been done.
In the home-half of the sixth, Marinette also got the ball rolling. James Jagielski led off with a single and Jack Farley walked. Adam Wahl followed up with a single to left and Marinette had the bases loaded with no outs. Nick Daye and Trey Bretl coaxed back-to-back bases loaded walks that scored Jagielski and Farley for two Marinette runs. Two consecutive strikeouts and a groundout ended the inning, but Marinette had tightened up the game 3-2.
Menominee's seventh inning started off promising with Joey Ebsch getting hit by the first pitch he saw. However, Osterberg settled in striking out Kyle Porath on a failed, third strike bunt attempt, and sitting down the next two batters on strikes.
With one final chance, Marinette was determined to send those wearing purple home happy. Number nine hitter Austin Marquardt set up the inning perfectly with a seeing-eye single. Jagielski laid down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw to first for a single. Farley sacrificed the runners into scoring position. During Wahl's at bat, a wild pitch allowed the tying run to score, making it 3-3. Coach Lauzer was faced with a decision. With just one out, Menominee intentionally walked Wahl and Daye to load the bases. Bretl stepped in and on the third pitch of the at-bat, with an 0-2 count, Bretl drilled a shot to the gap to score Jagielski and end the game. Fitting as it was, all four final runners hailed from Marinette, Jagielski, Daye, Wahl and Bretl.
"Fantastic game. Obviously, it's always nice to come out on the winning side, but great game by both teams and well played. We finally got some clutch hits at the end." Coach Lesindrini added of his team's late game approach during at-bats, "We were more patient at the plate, got some better pitches to hit. We left the bases loaded there in the sixth, but fortunately we kept it going in the seventh and the guys stepped up when they had to. It was a good team effort."
Marinette's Osterberg earned the win, pitching a complete game allowing three runs (two earned) on just three hits and a walk, while piling up 15 strikeouts.
"Matty was Matty, he pitched a great game, I mean 67 out of 92 strikes, very efficient. He threw a great game. Obviously, they were trying to get on there, they were doing some small-ball and they took advantage of our mistakes. We kept battling, didn't give up and were able to come through," said Coach Lesindrini of his ace.
Menominee's Tharp suffered the tough loss, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, five walks and seven strikeouts.
"We told him after the game he pitched very well. He kept hitters off balance and his curveball was working very well today. He just ran out of gas," said Coach Lauzer.
Marquardt paced Marinette with a 2-for-3 day, Jagielski went 2-for-4, while Farley and Spencer Hipke were each 1-for-2. Menominee was led by Janquardt and Nolde who were each 1-for-3.
Although they didn't get the result they had hoped for, Coach Lauzer says, "This is going to help us tremendously. We usually struggle against good pitchers and like I told them, we didn't back down. They took good cuts up there, they bunted well; [Osterberg] didn't intimidate them, which was nice to see."
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