EagleHerald Sports Editor
MENOMINEE—Whether it was on the mound or with the bat, Zach Starzynski made sure that the Maroons wouldn’t open their season on a four-game skid.
Menominee’s ace went seven complete innings, giving up eight hits while allowing four runs and striking out eight. Starzynski also proved that pitchers can hit after driving in a run with a sacrifice fly to help Menominee defeat the Marquette Redmen 5-4 on Wednesday at Spies Field for the Maroons’ first victory of the year.
“Zach did a very good job on the mound. He was able to maintain his form throughout the entire game, which early in the season is a big accomplishment,” Menominee head coach John Beyer said. “Most pitchers are spent by the third or fourth inning but he motored right through that.”
“I was very impressed with his curveball. That was his pitch when he absolutely needed to get a strike and that’s rare for a high schooler,” Maroons’ pitching coach Brian Bell added. “He pitched his butt off.”
The Redmen got to Starzynski early with an RBI single from Logan Pederson giving Marquette a 1-0 lead at the top of the first. He quickly settled down and retired the eight of the next ten batters he faced as the Maroons built a 4-1 lead.
Justin Wenk lead off the third inning for Marquette with a grounder to shortstop before coming around to score on an error as the Redmen cut their deficit to two.
The Maroons tacked on a run in the bottom of the third with Carter Berger drilling an RBI grounder to score Starzynski and make it a 5-2 game.
Starzynski needed just six pitches to retire the side in the fourth but found himself in trouble in the top of the fifth after an error allowed Derek Pederson to reach first base while a single to left field by Wenk gave the Redmen a runner in scoring position. A 1-3 groundout on a sac bunt by Erik Johnson moved both runners into scoring position with one out and Brady Wright cashed in for Marquette with an RBI grounder to score Pederson and make it a 5-3 game. With Wenk standing on third and two outs, Starzynski locked up Logan Pederson with a curveball for a backwards K that got Menominee out of the inning.
A quick 1-2-3 fifth inning for the Maroons put Starzynski back on the bump to begin the sixth. After getting Alex Applekamp to pop out for the first out, Ashton Demoski tattooed a triple to the outfield fence before scoring on an RBI single from Jacob Knauss as the Redmen cut Menominee’s lead to one. Starzynski walked Liam Rockwood but managed to strike out Nate Cromwell while a groundball retired Johnson for the third out.
While his lead may have been sliced to one, Starzynski showed little worry or intimidation on the mound to start the seventh. He opened the frame with a quick 4-3 groundout for the first inning before getting Wright and Wenk to fly out to center field for the second and final outs of the game.
After starting the season 0-3, Beyer said that the Maroons entered the game against Marquette determined to get the second week of the season off on the right foot.
“The team worked hard this past week. They didn’t like the results from last week and they were very active and attentive in practice,” he said. “I think we saw a much more aggressive team in this game than we had seen previously. There’s still improvement to be made but we can build on today.”
One area where Menominee showed marked improvement is offensively, with the Maroons scoring more runs against the Redmen (5) than they had in the prior three games combined (4).
After Marquette jumped ahead in the first, the Maroons tied matters up after Chad Kenney blasted a line drive single to left field before Starsynski brought him home with a sac fly to make it a 1-1 game.
Menominee stayed on the attack in the bottom of the second after Kennison Boivin hit a single up the middle and swiped second base before scoring on an RBI single from Berger that gave the Maroons their first lead of the season. Berger came around to score thanks to a wild pitch before Jon Spegal scored off an RBI grounder by Kenney as Menominee took a 4-1 lead.
“I still think our hitting needs to come around but we got a little more strategic and laid down some bunts and did a little more running on the bases to try to make things happen, and it worked,” Beyer said. “The kids did what they needed to do and I think that’s going to continue. Once these guys get up emotionally into the game, we’re seeing them playing at a much different level than they were a week ago.”
The Maroons totaled seven hits with Kenney going two-for-two with an RBI and two walks while Berger also went 2-2 with two runs batted in.
Wright took the loss for Marquette after pitching three innings and giving up six hits and five runs.
Menominee played Bark River-Harris in a doubleheader on Thursday, but results were not available at press time. The Maroons next game is a road game against Oconto on Monday. First pitch is 4:30 p.m.
MENOMINEE —1 3 1 0 0 0 x—5
MARQUETTE—1 0 1 0 1 1 0—4
WP—Starzynski 7 IP, 8 H, BB, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 K
LP —Wright 3 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 K
Leading hitters (Menominee) —Kenney 2x2, RBI, R, 2 BB; Berger 2x2 2 RBI, R.