SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The Marinette Redbirds showed they belonged in the league they now call home, but the Birds dropped both games of a doubleheader Saturday against the Sheboygan As.
Marinette was playing its first games in the Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League and showed well with 1-0 and 4-3 losses.
The first game was a tight pitchers’ duel, with neither team recording a hit in the first three innings.
Cody Woods looped a single over the second baseman in the top off the fourth inning for the Birds’ first and only hit of game 1.
The As threatened to score in the third inning, when leadoff hitter Josh Moses hit a high fly ball to center field and Jason Hofer lost it in the sun. Hofer raced back to the fence to retrieve the ball and fired to second-baseman Jordan Powers. Powers wheeled and fired home in time to get Moses out at the plate.
Mitch Sutton broke up Marinette pitcher Brian Bell’s no-hit bid with a single in the bottom of the fourth.
Bell was stellar in his Birds debut, pitching all seven innings and striking out six while allowing no earned runs.
Marinette loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the seventh inning thanks to two walks and a fielder’s choice that didn’t record an out, but the Birds couldn’t push a run across.
Powers struck out and Hofer hit a line smash to first base that resulted in a tough-luck double-play.
Sheboygan escaped with the win when Sutton walked and a pinch-runner came around to score on a throwing error.
UW-Whitewater alum Eric Schmitz allowed one hit and no runs in five innings to get the win in the first game.
In game 2, the Birds pushed a run across in the top of the first inning when Wesli Rivera drove in Scott Eldredge with a single.
Marinette pushed the lead to 3-0 in the top of the second inning. Kiefer Powers walked to lead off the inning, and Riley Hegg reached on an error. Powers came around on a groundout by his brother, Jordan, and Hofer scored Hegg with a fielder’s choice.
Marinette starter Matt Hanson ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the second, allowing three runs.
Moses scored what proved to be the winning run in the fifth inning on a wild pitch.
The Birds’ bats were quiet again in the second game, with Rivera and Eldredge picking up the only hits.