ESCANABA — In baseball, the saying goes that a team can never score enough runs.
That proved true in the championship game of the Gregg Johnson/Al Erickson Memorial American Legion tournament on Sunday as the Dickinson County Greens retained their title by hanging on for a 10-8 triumph over Marinette.
The Greens held a seemingly-comfortable 10-3 lead after 6 1/2 innings before Marinette scored five times in the bottom of the seventh, which marked its third straight runner-up finish.
Marinette squeezed past Gladstone 6-5 in a semifinal contest, and the Greens beat Copper Country 11-7 in the other semifinal to set up Sunday’s title game. Escanaba fell short in its quest for a semifinal berth after dropping a 7-3 decision to Copper Country on Saturday night.
“The team really came together,” said Greens manager Eric Cook. “We struggled early in the tournament with our defense but really came around.
The victory over Copper County was a big win for us,“ Cook added. “We were 0-4 against them (Houghton) in the high school season. They’re a real solid team. That gave us a lot of momentum going into the championship game.”
The Greens (5-1), who fell to Marinette 17-5 on Saturday, scored their 10th run on a double to leftfield by Chase Carlson.
Marinette (7-3) then took advantage of a fielding error, wild pitch and walk and cashed in on an RBI double to right-center by Adam Lemery and RBI single to left by Lane Whiting in the seventh.
“Our guys didn’t give up,” said Marinette manager Brian Lesandrini. “We came out flat, then got a little more patient at the plate. One more inning would have helped us. Hats off to Iron Mountain. With an offense like that, they’re going to be in a lot of games. They’re a very good team. We’re very happy with the start of our season.”
Dickinson County took a 9-0 advantage by scoring twice in the sixth.
Marinette answered with three runs in its half of the inning, taking advantage of a wild pitch, hit batsman and an error.
Carson Chartier, who pitched 5 2/3 innings, took the win. He struck out two, walked one, hit four batters and allowed three runs on two hits.
“It seemed like they weren’t able to hit my fastball, and our defense made plays,” he said. “It was definitely scary in the end. We knew we’d close it out. Only, we didn’t want it to get that close. It was nice to get that win over Copper Country. They were definitely the team to beat.”
The Greens collected 14 hits. Riley Juneau collected three hits and drove in three runs. Carlson also had three. Beau Kralovec added a double in the first and an RBI double to left in the sixth. Maxon and Nolan Amundson added two hits each.
Marinette finished with five hits, including three by Lemery.
Maxon had three hits, and Carlson added two against Copper Country, which led 7-3 after three frames. Kade Farrell and Dylan Horning had two apiece for the Flames (4-1).
At Gladstone, Marinette led 6-2 before the host Indians (3-2) scored three times in the bottom of the seventh.
Braden Sundquist’s double closed the gap to 6-3, and two bases-loaded walks got the Indians within a run.
The Indians committed eight errors and left the bases loaded in the seventh. Sundquist absorbed the loss.
Gladstone earned the No. 2 seed by rallying past Marinette 5-4 on Saturday night.
The Indians trailed 4-1 in the fifth, cashed in on two fielding errors to pull within 4-3 and scored the tying and winning runs on another miscue in the sixth.
In Escanaba, the Cubs fell behind 3-0 in the second when Copper Country’s Reid Heathman got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Hunter Lancour’s double to left-center got the Cubs on the board, and a sacrifice fly to center by Bon LaChance trimmed their deficit to 3-2 in the fourth.
Parker Frappier tied the score on a suicide squeeze bunt by Eli Gardner in the fifth.
The Flames, however, secured the decision by scoring four times in the seventh.
“I’m happy with the way we battled,” said Esky manager Jon Bintner. “The games we lost, we kind of let them get away. Our energy level goes down if we start slow. The guys do a good job advancing baserunners. We just need to get a little more comfortable in the close games. They’re a good hitting and defensive team. It was good to play quality competition. We got a lot of people on the mound and saw what they can do.”
The Cubs beat Menominee 10-6 Friday and the Eastern U.P. Wood Ducks 9-1 on Saturday.
Nick Chiu tossed a two-hitter, and Gardner and LaChance had two hits each against the Sault Ste. Marie-based squad.
Gladstone, which bounced back from Friday’s 13-9 loss to Dickinson County, visits Marquette tonight at 7 and DePere, Wis., on Wednesday. Esky travels to Marquette on Thursday.