Iron Mountain Legion Golds capture tournament title
ESCANABA — Solid pitching and timely hitting often leads baseball teams to success.
Such was the case for the Iron Mountain Golds as it defeated Marinette 3-1 in the title game of the Gregg Johnson/Al Erickson Memorial American Legion baseball tournament here Sunday.
The Golds (5-1) scored the runs they needed in the sixth inning, and Andrew Paupore put the finishing touches to his complete-game victory by striking out a battling Braeden McHahon.
“It was back and forth,” said Paupore. “When we got the two runs, it was definitely a big boost. Those gave us a little breathing room, but they kept fighting. I just had to do my job, and our defense helped me out. It was all emotion kicking in after we got the last out.”
Paupore scattered five hits, struck out six and walked one for the Golds, who host Bark River in a doubleheader today.
Caleb Johnson’s single to rightfield gave Iron Mountain a 2-1 lead, and Kody Hendricks’ infield single provided the insurance run in the sixth.
Relief pitcher Alex Rupert scored Marinette’s run on a fielder’s choice in the third.
Iron Mountain’s Evan Haferkorn tied the score on a throwing error in the fifth.
Austin Burnside, who threw 105 pitches in five innings, took the loss. He fanned seven, walked five and allowed two runs on two hits.
“Our batters fought,” said Golds’ assistant coach Eric Cook. “To have him throw 105 pitches in five innings was huge. They have a good team. It was nerve-wracking, but it was fun.”
Burnside had two of Marinette’s five hits.
“They took advantage of a few mistakes,” said Marinette manager Brian Lesandrini. “Give Iron Mountain credit. They executed when they had to.”
Iron Mountain advanced to the final with a 9-1 triumph over the Sault Ste. Marie-based Eastern U.P. Wood Ducks at Gladstone.
The Golds broke a 1-1 deadlock with four consecutive singles in the fourth, then added three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth.
“I was a little fatigued in the fourth and fifth,” said losing pitcher Vinny Febles, who had a no-hitter going after three frames. “It tends to get in your head a little when the other team starts hitting you.”
Sean Durand earned the complete-game victory, striking out six, walking none and allowing five hits. Febles whiffed five, walked three and surrendered eight runs on seven hits.
Ian Anderson and Gannon Bray had two hits apiece for Iron Mountain. Febles had a pair for the Wood Ducks, who host Iron Mountain in a twinbill June 27.
Marinette beat the Green Bay Shockers 10-2 in Sunday’s other semifinal in Escanaba.
Esky eliminated Copper Country 5-3, then dropped an 8-5 decision in eight innings to the Shockers Saturday.
At Gladstone, Adrian Mercier scattered four hits, fanned seven and walked three as Bark River blanked the Indians 2-0 for its first win.
Nick Javurek scored the first run on a fielder’s choice in the opening frame, and Ian Gorzinski’s sacrifice fly to center gave the Bucs (1-3) their second run.
The Bucs fell to Eastern U.P. 12-9 earlier Saturday, and Gladstone dropped a 7-4 decision to Marinette.
In other games, a two-run homer by Lucas Maxon and a solo shot by Paupore in the second inning helped Iron Mountain beat Copper Country 12-5.
Blake Julian led the Golds with three hits. Caleb Johnson added two.
Marquette fell to Marinette 4-1 and Green Bay 10-6 Saturday.