GLADSTONE - The Escanaba Major Girls' (age 11-12) All-Stars came up with just enough timely hitting Monday night for a 6-0 softball victory over Gladstone in an area tournament game.
Esky had three of its eight hits in the second inning, when it scored three times. Among those was an RBI single to left field by Emily Bruntjens, which hiked its advantage to 4-0.
"That gave us a little breathing room," said Esky manager Amy Bruntjens. "That also gave the girls confidence."
Both teams return to Howes Family Field for the District 10 tourney Friday as Gladstone hosts Iron Mountain North at 5 p.m. Esky then meets Kingsford at 7.
Esky's Alex Zelenak reached base on a two-out infield single in the second. Darby Beckon followed with a single to right. Both then scored on a fielding error prior to Bruntjens' single.
Beckon's second hit, a single to left, gave Esky a 5-0 advantage in the fifth and Megan Dagenais' single to center finished the scoring in the sixth.
Esky stranded 10 runners in the contest, leaving the bases loaded in the third inning and at least two aboard in each of the following frames.
"We told the girls we need to be taking advantage of those situations," said manager Bruntjens. "It would have been nice to get an extra hit or two in any of those innings."
Claire McInerney opened the scoring on a wild pitch in the first.
Hannah Edington, who pitched the entire game, took the win. She struck out three, walked one and scattered four hits.
"They (Esky) are a tough team," said Gladstone manager Duane Hardwick. "Many of their girls play travel ball, so we knew their defense would be solid. I thought we also played pretty well in the field. Only, we couldn't capitalize on offense when we had the opportunities."
Gladstone catcher Leigha Woelffer especially shined on defense, throwing out a pair of baserunners at the plate and catching three pop-ups in foul territory.
"They don't come any better than Leigha," said Hardwick. "We can put her in any position and she'll do an outstanding job."
Losing pitcher Taylor Gauthier also went the distance. She fanned four, walked five and hit a batter.