The Marquette Blues missed out on the state tournament last year. They made it a priority to get back to the tournament this season, and they’ve done just that.
Marquette is one of six teams in the Class ‘A’ State Tournament in Gladwin. The Blues open up tournament play against the defending state champs from Hudson. Marquette played fifty nine games this season, winning forty four of them. The Blues feel that the regular season has prepared them well enough to give them a very good chance at winning a state championship.
“We’ve worked hard all year,” said Blues manager Derek Swajanen. “I think that we’ve accumulated a lot of wins and a lot of tournament victories. We’ve gotten to the finals in at least three of the tournaments that we’ve played in, so hopefully all of that preparation will come forward and we will be able to play good in the state tournament. We’re playing a couple of unknowns that we haven’t played this year. I think we have a team that can make a good run at a state title. We have the horses to do it. We have some great pitching, depth one thru nine, and if we field well we should be fine.”
“Our pitchers, when they’re doing well, the rest of the team is doing well,” said Blues infielder Ryan Walther. Even if they’re getting hits, our infield is strong, so there are really no worries. We’ve seen a lot of different teams than just the ones in the U.P., so I think we will be prepared for Hudson and the other teams we will see.”
“Actually I like it more going against someone we really don’t normally see because it gives us that extra push,” said Blues catcher Levi Underwood. “When we play someone that we’ve played before, we know what we’re going into. This (tournament) is different. We get to go in, full throttle all the way and we have to win no matter what.”
The Blues tournament opener against Hudson Post 180 is set for Thursday at 12 p.m. Of the six teams in the state tournament, three of them are from the Upper Peninsula. The Escanaba Cubs open up tournament play tomorrow against the Petoskey Royals at 9 a.m. The winner of the game between Escanaba and Petoskey takes on the Gladstone Indians at 3 p.m. The host Gladwin Lightning face the winner of the Marquette, Hudson game at 6 p.m. The tournament final is on Sunday, Aug. 3.