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Bay Port Legion drops game to Marinette


SUAMICO – the Bay Port Legion baseball club doesn’t have many victories this summer, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get to the state tournament.

Despite dropping a 7-3 game to Marinette July 16, the Pirates (3-16) are optimistic heading into the postseason, where they will open up against Kimberly this Thursday, July 19, in Manitowoc at 5:00.

“Maybe we don’t have a lot of wins this season, but I think we have shown a ton of improvement over the course of the summer,” said head coach Jesse Wiltzius. “Our Legion club uses the season to get guys some work that didn’t get a lot of playing time on varsity. Besides Bob (Tilot), we don’t have many other guys playing for us now that got consistent at-bats during the high school season this past spring. We use it more to build for next year’s high-school season.”

Even though some college players would be eligible to come back and play for Bay Port, the club doesn’t allow them to do that. Wiltzius also noted that most graduating seniors don’t play as well.

As for the loss to Marinette, the visitors used a five-run fifth and four Pirate errors to put the game out of reach.

Bay Port managed a single tally in the fourth and two in the fifth for its runs. Trailing by the final margin in the bottom of the seventh, they loaded the bases, but a groundout to the shortstop ended the game.

The Pirates got hits from Grant Maus, Zac Paulsen, Matt Doherty, Ryan Kempainnen and Michael Aikins. Kempainnen had the only RBI of the game for Bay Port.

Tilot started the game on the mound for the Pirates and gave up just two earned runs in his four innings of work. Doherty and Paulsen also saw action.

“I thought Bob came out and pitched well early on,” noted Wiltzius. “His command was much better this game than it had been in some games earlier in the season. We had to take him out due to his pitch count and needing him for our AAA regional game Thursday. He was at 59 pitches and I had to keep him under 60 in order to pitch him Thursday. If he had been able to stay in there, we would have been alright. Hitting wise, we had some good at-bats. Defensively, we had troubles … that’s been our downfall all year – giving up a lot of unearned runs.”

Just two of the seven runs Pirate pitchers gave up were earned.

Bay Port beat Kimberly 8-1 earlier in the season, so they are hopeful they can do it again in the postseason.

“I told the guys after the game that I still feel state is reachable if we can put some games together,” added Wiltzius. “We will have a few more pitchers coming back (Jett Thielke and Carter Highline), so we will be a bit deeper there. Marinette is at our regional, so I think they are the favorite. Kimberly resembles us the most in the way they approach the season … they play a lot of younger guys as well. Most of the other teams play their college kids.”

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