NEGAUNEE - The Marquette Blues American Legion baseball team got strong pitching efforts from Nick Kamrada and Adam Gannon on Sunday to win two games and repeat as Mid Pen League playoff champions at Irontown Field in Negaunee.
Kamrada pitched a two-hit complete game as the Blues opened with a 6-0 victory over Hancock to capture the North Division championship in the early afternoon.
The Blues turned right around as Gannon threw another complete game, a five-hitter, as Marquette beat South Division winner Gladstone 5-3 later in the afternoon.
"We played real good defense this whole weekend," Blues manager Derek Swajanen said. "We played at Kingsford earlier in the week and didn't do very well, and the boys got a little pep talk about effort in the latter half of the season.
"Since that discussion, they have responded and done well defensively and at the plate, and that is what you need at this time of the season to win these types of tight games."
The game against Hancock was originally scheduled for Saturday evening but was postponed to Sunday morning due to rain delays on Saturday. The Blues defeated the Negaunee Diamonds on Saturday afternoon and Hancock beat the Ishpeming Blue Storm Saturday evening to reach the Sunday morning game.
Kamrada allowed only singles to Hancock's Alex VanWagner in the third inning and Ty LaDuron in the fourth while walking four and striking out nine.
"Nick threw a real nice two-hitter ... he was moving the ball around very well and our defense didn't make many mistakes," Swajanen said. "Hancock is a team that hasn't made a lot of mistakes, so we knew we had to play good to beat them.
"We really thought coming into this game that it was going to be a one- or two-run game."
The Blues did most of their damage in the second inning, scoring five times on just one hit - a two-out RBI single by Jared Wales - as they drew three walks and two hit batsmen.
"I'm not sure why we are having these blow-up innings, but the last three weekends this has happened. If you were to tell me we would hold the Blues to four hits and get eight strikeouts I would take those numbers anyway," Hancock manager Nels Paul said. "But, we just can't have walks and mental errors against the top teams because they make you pay for it every time. While we tightened up defensively and on the mound after that, we got flat on offense and their pitcher, Nick Kamrada, threw a great game."
Wales produced another run-scoring single in the fourth to round out Marquette's scoring against Hancock pitcher Luke Paul, who went the distance as he allowed four hits and six walks while fanning eight.
Hancock reached the division championship with a 6-1 victory over Ishpeming Saturday.
Luke Paul doubled and scored on a suicide squeeze from Darren Bausano, who came in on another ground-rule double by Kris Turunen.
LaDuron and Paul hit back-to-back homers in the third as Hancock extended its lead to 6-0.
LaDuron was the winning pitcher, allowing a run on four hits. He struck out three and walked one in a complete game.
Hancock (28-8) is back in action Friday with a doubleheader at Escanaba before traveling on to Menominee for a Saturday twinbill.