Marinette’s Aaron Benson, right, celebrates with Ty Bebo after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning against Oconto Falls Friday. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette’s Aaron Benson, right, celebrates with Ty Bebo after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning against Oconto Falls Friday. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
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MARINETTE - Oconto Falls played like it had nothing to lose and the Marinette Marines played like a team in danger of losing to a lower seed.

The Marines did just enough to beat Falls 2-1 in a WIAA Division 2 baseball regional opener at Pedersen Ball Park Friday.

Marinette didn't play particularly well but advaced to play at second-seeded Notre Dame on Tuesday.

"Doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there," Marinette coach Dave Francour said. "They outplayed us."

Sixth-seeded Falls (3-14) lost to the third-seeded Marines 5-0 and 11-0 in the regular season, but Hunter Magnin pitched neither of those games. On Friday, Magnin limited the Marines to three hits.

"Their pitcher kept us off balance a little bit," Francour said. "We should've hit him better than we did."

Throwing a fastball, breaking ball and changeup for strikes, Magnin cruised through three perfect innings.

"He's around the plate, and that's what makes him effective," Falls' coach Charlie Rochon said. "He's been solid all year for us. This isn't a bad team, and he kept them off balance."

Marine pitching ace Jake McMahon struggled in the first inning by allowing a leadoff single to Colton Giese and Alex Johnson's walk. After two strikeouts, McMahon gave up an RBI single to John Thompson.

McMahon was sharp after that and he finished with 12 strikeouts.

"Once he settled down and got in a groove he was OK," Francour said.

Marinette tied the game in the fourth. Derek Klegin lined a leadoff single, stole second and kept going to third on the wild throw. Aaron Benson lined an RBI double into the right/center gap, but Magnin pitched out of a first-and-third, one-out jam with a 6-4-3 double play.

Marinette scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Benson reached safely on a grounder when the throw skidded past first, and he ran over a Panthers' player on his way to second.

"I wanted to get there," Benson said. "Didn't hesitate."

One out later, Nate Kallestad lined a walk-off RBI single to left. Kallestad turned on a low and inside 1-2 offspeed pitch.

"I was looking for offspeed because he was throwing me a lot of junk throughout the game," Kallestad said.

The Marines (13-7) committed two errors, had a runner picked off first base and failed on a sacrifice bunt try. The errors, two walks and five hits elevated McMahon's pitch count to 128.

"Jake didn't have his good curveball so he had to throw a lot more fastballs than he wanted to," Francour said. "That's why they had as many hits as they did."

WP - Jake McMahon 7 IP, 1R, , 5H, 2W, 12K
LP - Hunter Magnin 7 IP, 2R, 1ER, 3H, 2W, 5K

Leading hitters (Marinette): Aaron Benson 1x3, 2B, RBI; Nate Kallestad 1x3, RBI; Derek Klegin 1x3; (Oconto Falls): John Thompson 1x3, RBI; Jake Virtues & Colin Sigmund 1x3

Oconto Falls 100 000 0 - 1
Marinette 000 100 1 - 2