EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette Legion second baseman Jake Sawinski slaps a tag on Emmett Kulick of De Pere during Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday at Pedersen Ball Park. Kulick beat the throw for a stolen base. (Color reprints: www.ehextra.com)
EagleHerald/Jody Korch Marinette Legion second baseman Jake Sawinski slaps a tag on Emmett Kulick of De Pere during Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday at Pedersen Ball Park. Kulick beat the throw for a stolen base. (Color reprints: www.ehextra.com)
MARINETTE — De Pere Legion’s pitchers were over the top and below the belt against Marinette Legion Saturday.
Mostly, the Panther pitchers were very good.
De Pere swept a doubleheader, 4-3 and 5-1, at Pedersen Ball Park.
In the first game, the Marines were shut down by a rarity — a southpaw submarine pitcher. Reliever Ross Kulick’s delivery came from so low, his knuckles weren’t far off the ground.
In Game 2, Alex Jorgensen and reliever Connor Rutherford combined to scatter nine hits with their hard-throwing, over-the-top pitching motion.
 “Pitching was good,” said De Pere coach Kevin Norman, a Menominee native. “They weren’t getting ahead of the batter early in the count.”
But they battled back to get key rally-killing outs when they had to.
It wasn’t a bad day for Marinette. The defense turned three double plays and played well, for the most part. Austin Wright and Alex Gressel pitched impressive complete games.
“We played well against a very good team,” Marinette coach Brian Lesandrini said. “We played well but not good enough to win.”
Marinette took a quick 2-0 lead the first game. Derek Klegin singled, Nate Kallestad walked, Jake Sawinski grounded out to second and Klegin scored on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly by Kiefer Powers drove home Kallestad.
De Pere tied the game in the second on an RBI single by Ben Reynolds and a fielder’s choice, then took the lead in the fifth. Emmett Kulick hit a leadoff double and scored on a wild pitch.
Marinette scored in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. Kevin Konyn hit a leadoff single and took second on Luke Johnson’s sacrifice bunt. Konyn scored from second on an errant pickoff throw.
The Panthers scored the winning run in the ninth when Emmett Kulick hit a two-out triple to right/center and scored on a wild pitch.
Marinette got its leadoff man, Blake Miller, on with a single in the bottom of the ninth. One out later, Johnson reached on an error, but a fielder’s choice play and a popup ended the threat.
Wright threw just 73 pitches through seven innings, and 100 pitched overall in a complete game. Blake Rutherford pitched the first three innings for the Panthers. Kulick allowed just four hits and two walks in six innings to earn the win.
“Obviously, he’s unconventional,” Lesandrini said of the submarine pitcher. “It doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got to stay fundamentally sound, keep your weight back.”
In Game 2, Connor Rutherford blasted a solo home run to right in the first inning. In the second, two infield errors led to four unearned runs off Gressel. Connor Niespodzany made the Marines pay for the miscues with an opposite-field single. Emmett Kulick singled in two runs, and another run scored on a wild pitch.
“Unfortunately, we made a few mistakes that hurt us,” Lesandrini said. “Our defense for the most part made some plays. Our pitchers for the most part threw well.”
Five of the first seven Marinette batters that Jorgensen faced hit grounders to second base. Post 39 finally broke through in the fifth. Alex Nemetz sliced an opposite-field, leadoff double to left, and Klegin punched a double down the right field line.
Marinette stranded 10 baserunners.
“I feel good our hitters will come around,” Lesandrini said.
Norman fielded primarily De Pere players because his West De Pere players are still alive in high school sectionals.
“I’m getting a feel for these guys,” Norman said. “I was getting first impressions. We’ll be all right. Coming into the year I was optimistic. Seeing this, I’m still optimistic. The talent is there. It’s just a matter of these guys wanting it.”
Game 1
WP — Ross Kulick 6 IP, 1R, 1ER, 4H, 2W, 0K
LP — Austin Wright 9 IP, 4R, 4ER, 11H, 1W, 2K
Leading hitters (Marinette): Derek Klegin 2x4; (De Pere): Emmett Kulick 3x5, 3B, 2B; Connor Rutherford 3x4, 2B; Logan Devroy 2x4
De Pere   000   210   001 — 4
Marinette   200   000   100 — 3
Game 2
WP — Alex Jorgensen 5 IP, 1R, 1ER, 5H, 1W, 2K
LP — Alex Gressel 7 IP, 5R, 1ER, 10H, 2W, 1K
Leading hitters (Marinette): Alex Nemetz 2x3, 2B; Blake Margis 2x4; Klegin 1x3, 2B; Alex Stodola & Blake Miller 1x3; (De Pere): E. Kulick 3x4, 2 RBIs; Rutherford 1x4, HR; Connor Niespodzany 2x3, RBI
De Pere   140   000   0 — 5
Marinette   000   010   0 — 1