ESCANABA - After a busy week on the diamond, John LaMarch gave his mound corps a little break Saturday by starting different pitchers in all four games of the Escanaba Lions Gregg Johnson Invitational.
The Eskymos finished 3-1 in the softball tournament at Lemerand Park, rebounding from a 5-3 loss to Petoskey to beat Traverse City Central 10-1 and 9-2 and Sault Ste. Marie 17-1. Esky broke the Sault game open with 10 runs in the top of the sixth to end the game early.
LaMarch said his players "gained a lot of confidence" playing four times in six hours. They were 7-3 during the week, with doubleheaders Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Dennis Grall | Daily Press
Escanaba catcher Emily Bogaudo tags out Megan Jean of Sault Ste. Marie as umpire Tim Smith watches in the second inning Saturday at Lemerand Field. Right fielder Lisa McGraw made the throw. For more photos, visit cu.dailypress.net.
Esky (19-11) has two more twinbills this week, hosting Gladstone Tuesday and visiting Marquette Thursday.
"The kids pretty much contested or hit every pitcher they faced. We played good defense and our pitching was solid.
Petoskey, which dropped a 10-2 decision to Esky a week earlier, used its No. 1 pitcher Saturday and used a three-run fifth inning to win.
"I think the kids had confidence leaving that game. We lost, but we made some mistakes and we had some hits off her. We just couldn't piece anything together," said LaMarch.
Esky meets Petoskey again June 2 in the opening game of the Division 2 district in Sault Ste. Marie.
Esky had four hits against Petoskey, while losing pitcher Codi Jenshak was tagged for eight hits. Sophomore Syd Gafner, who had a strong tournament, drove in two runs with one of those hits.
"Syd has been playing really, really well," said LaMarch, who has moved her to the leadoff spot in the batting order. "She is starting that momentum and our kids are starting to believe in her. She's got a nice stick, she has some power, she runs the bases well and she is playing a good left field."
Gafner, Ashley Cook and Braedyn Bosilovatz had two hits against Sault, with Esky using nine hits and a batch of errors and walks to take a 7-1 lead and then blow the game open. Kayli VanEffen limited Sault (14-12-1) to two hits. Sault faces Cheboygan in the opening game of the district tournament. Esky beat Cheboygan 8-2 and 10-0 Friday and Cheboygan was winless Saturday.
Freshman Jayme Frappier and junior Makayla Schuster picked up the pitching victories against Traverse City Central, with Frappier earning her first varsity victory after getting moved up from jayvees for the tourney.
Frappier allowed five hits in going the distance. Bosilovatz was 4-for-4, Mallory Zimmerman had three hits and Bre Belanger added two hits.
In the first game against TCC, Schuster tossed a two-hitter. Jenshak pounded a two-run home run among her two hits, and Gafner, Zimmerman, Bosilovatz, Lisa McGraw, Nicole Juhl and Erin Gregoire also had two hits.
Zimmerman, the Esky shortstop, was named the tournament's top defender and Bosilovatz earned the top offensive award. Morgan Seibert of Marquette was the top pitcher, and T.C. Central took the sportsmanship award.