Winning four titles isn't easy
Redbirds pushed by Storm, Tri-City
Sunday, August 11, 2013 7:00 PM
MENOMINEE - Down but not out, the Marinette Redbirds rallied to reach the Wishigan Tourney title game. Then, they hung on to win it.
Marinette Redbirds’ second baseman Jordan Powers makes the relay throw for a game-ending double play in Sunday’s Wishigan Tourney semifinal win over the Menominee Storm. Ryan Kruse slides into second. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette rallied past the Menominee Storm 5-2 in Sunday's first game at Spies Field. The Redbirds held off the Tri-City North Stars 6-4 in the title game.
"It had me going," Redbirds player/manager Nick Brukardt said. "There were so many tough plays in the outfield and infield. I was ready to have a heart attack."
Down 6-2, Tri-City strung together five of its seven hits in the seventh and final inning. But a 4-6-3 double play - Jordan Powers to Ryan Johnson to Cody Bezio - limited the damage. Cody Woods retired the final batter on a popout to earn the complete-game victory.
Brukardt wasn't about to pull the hard-throwing Woods, who struck out five and walked two.
"I told myself after the Appleton game, where I took him out of the game and we ended up losing, there was no way I was going to do it this time," Brukardt said.
Woods drove in the tying run in the first game and the go-ahead run in the title game.
"He's ready for that clutch situation every game," Brukardt said. "It seems like whenever there's a guy in scoring position and he's up, he's gonna drive him in."
Against the North Stars, the Redbirds took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Woods hit a leadoff single, Powers walked and Pat Wolard delivered a two-run single.
In the fifth, a hit batsman, a sacrifice bunt and an error set the stage for Steve Hintsala's two-run double that tied the game.
In the sixth, Cody Bezio hit a pinch-hit leadoff double, and he scored on Woods' base hit. Powers singled, Adam Francour hit an RBI single and Wolard doubled home two runs.
Against the Storm, a four-run sixth inning catapulted Marinette to the victory.
With the Storm holding a 2-1 lead in the sixth, Jordan Rasner led off with a single for the Redbirds.
After a strikeout and a walk to Todd Olsen, Woods tied the game with a single to left. Powers followed with a bunt single to load the bases and Francour put Marinette in front 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to center.
Redbirds' pitcher Wolard helped his cause by roping a two-run single down the third-base line to extend Marinette's lead to 5-2.
Wolard finished the seventh with a 6-4-3 double play to win the game.
Menominee scored two runs in the first inning.
With one out, Matt Jacobs singled to left, moved over to second on an error at short which put Brett Edlbeck on first and the two advanced on a wild pitch.
After a strikeout, Ryan Kruse lined a single to right-center to drive in Jacobs and Edlbeck to take a 2-0 lead.
"After that Wolard got loose and shut them down," Brukardt said. "Wolard was very nervous to start the game. We hadn't played a game in almost 2 1/2 weeks because of cancellations. I think a lot of people were nervous besides Wolard."
Wolard earned the mound win, allowing just three hits, only one after the first inning, with 10 strikeouts. He faced the minimum of batters in the final six innings.
Bell suffered the loss, despite keeping the Redbird batters off-balance much of the game.
He allowed five runs, (four earned) on five hits with four punchouts.
"Overall, I was very proud of our team this year and the way we played," Storm coach Billy Betts said. "We did a lot of good things both hitting and in the field that we can build on and look forward to for next year."
The Redbirds won their fourth straight Wishigan tourney title. In that time frame the roster has stayed mostly the same.
"We've built up a very good friendship in the dugout," according to Brukardt. "We play for each other."
WP - Pat Wolard 7IP, 2R, 0ER, 3H, 10K, 0W
LP - Brian Bell 6IP, 5R, 4ER, 5H, 4K, 5W
Leading hitters (Marinette): Todd Olsen 1x1; Jordan Rasner 1x2; Wolard 1x4, 2B; (Menominee): Ryan Kruse 2x3, 2RBI; Matt Jacobs 1x3
Marinette 000 104 x - 5
Menominee 200 000 0 - 2
Marinette 6, Tri-City 4
WP - Cody Woods 7 IP, 4R, 7H, 2W, 5K
Leading hitters (Marinette): Powers 2x3, Wolard 2x4, 4 RBIs; Bezio 1x1, 2B; Cody Woods 2x3, RBI; (Tri-City): Hintsala 2x4, 4 RBIs; Scott Jensen 1x1, 2R; Adam Ganon 2x2, 2R
Tri-City 000 020 - 2 - 4
Marinette 002 004 x - 6