ESCANABA - It doesn't require a lot of hits to score a bunch of runs, as the Escanaba Eskymos showed Thursday.
The Eskymos used their offense at the right times and capitalized on several Marquette errors to sweep the Redettes 9-3 and 9-0 in their home softball finale at Lemerand Field.
"It sure looked like every time they needed a play, they did it," said perplexed Marquette manager Paul Seibert. "They had three great catches in the outfield. They are a great team and you can't make mistakes against them.
Dennis Grall | Daily Press
Escanaba first baseman Kayle VanEffen tags out Marquette’s Angela Brown, who was caught in a rundown between third and home plate in the fifth inning of Thursday’s opener at Lemerand Field. (For more photos, visit cu.dailypress.net)
Dennis Grall | Daily Press
Escanaba second baseman Bre Belanger throws from the prone position after fielding a wind-blown ball in the fifth inning of Thursday’s opener against Marquette at Lemerand Field. Christian Nagelkirk beat the the throw to first base.
"We must have had 9-10 errors."
Those miscues played a major role in Escanaba's scoring, but manager John LaMarch pointed out his club was getting good swings, putting the ball in play and making the Redettes make the play.
"I thought we forced the issue today and caught a few breaks," said LaMarch, who was more aggressive from the third-base coaching box by calling several bunts and steal attempts that may have contributed to his base runners kicking it into another gear to take extra bases.
"We're trying to get the mentality of winning the game and don't play not to lose," said LaMarch.
It was also important because the wind was a factor in several facets.
"This was the umpteenth game where the wind was blowing into our face. That changes the mentality up there (at bat) a little bit," he said. "It forces you to focus on hitting the top half of the ball instead of swinging from the heels."
Two first-inning errors in the nightcap helped the Eskymos score twice, with Braedyn Bosilovatz getting a bunt RBI single. Two runs scored in the fifth when Mallory Zimmerman's two-out wind blown blooper slid out of first baseman Kelsey Huuki's glove as she straddled the foul line that sent Esky ahead 5-0.
The Eskymos added four runs in the fifth, with two runs scoring on Erin Gregoire's grounder that second baseman Whitney LaFave just managed to knock down with a lunge. Zimmerman then drilled a two-run double off the fence, right into the 20-25 mph wind.
In the first game, the Eskymos erupted for five runs in the fifth that answered a three-run rally by Marquette in the top of the frame. That came after Esky scored twice on two infield errors in the fourth for a 4-0 lead, with two more errors adding to the fifth inning uprising.
In the fifth, Jen Koish had a pinch-hit RBI single and took second on another infield error, and two runs scored when Ashley Cook's grounder to short was thrown away at first base. Nicole Juhl followed with a two-run, two-out single for Esky.
Morgan Seibert had a two-run single in Marquette's only scoring frame of the day. She was the losing pitcher in the first game, then replaced starter Anna Johnson in the third inning of the nightcap with Esky ahead 3-0.
"I don't think the girls came ready to play," said Paul Seibert "We've been playing really good ball (8-2 in last 10 games) but today we took a step back.
"Maybe this is not such a bad thing going into districts. We get a reality check. You can't play relaxed," he said.
Marquette had five hits off Kayli VanEffen in the nightcap after getting just three hits off Codi Jenshak in the opener. Lisa McGraw had two hits for Esky in the opener and Zoe Berquist had two of the seven hits in the finale.
LaMarch liked the way Jenshak contained Marquette. "She has great control, which allows her to do so much in the strike zone," he said. "She is like a point guard in basketball, she controls the tempo. We can play our defense to a certain way."
He also liked the way his club rebounded from a pair of shutout losses to Gladstone Tuesday. "We got over the Gladstone hangover," he said.
The Redettes (14-15) host Escanaba Tuesday in their regular season finale, then play Traverse City Central in a Division I district opener June 1 in Traverse City.
The Eskymos (21-13) go to Sault Ste. Marie for their Division II district June 1, facing Petoskey at noon.