GLADSTONE - The Escanaba Major Girls' All-Stars (age 11-12) didn't allow many scoring opportunities Friday night, resulting in an 8-1 softball victory over Kingsford in the District 10 tournament.
Hannah Edington and Darby Beckon combined on a two-hitter. Edington struck out four and walked none through five innings. Beckon then fanned two of the three hitters she faced in the sixth.
"Our pitchers did an excellent job keeping them off balance," said Esky manager Amy Bruntjens. "Except for one inning, they weren't able to do anything."
Mykenzie Monkevich of Gladstone dives back into third base as Iron Mountain’s Jordan Stoner waits for the throw fro the catcher in the first inning of Friday’s Major Girls Little League softball game in Gladstone. (Daily Press photo by Dennis Grall)
Kingsford's Jordyn Kriegl scored on Abby Tomasoski's single to right field in the third inning.
Esky, however, had a 7-0 advantage through two frames.
The victory sends Esky in to Sunday's championship round, which begins at 6 p.m. Kingsford returns to Howes Family Field today at 5 to face Gladstone.
Infield singles by Emily Bruntjens and Claire McInerney got Esky going in the opening frame when it scored three times. Esky then added four runs by taking advantage of four straight walks in the second.
"The girls started very strong," said manager Bruntjens. "I'm so proud of our girls for jumping out and getting the lead. We had trouble waiting on the ball and got a little overanxious at times. But our defense played fantastic."
Esky ended the scoring in the fifth on Savannah Barron's single to left. The winners finished with four hits.
"Our defense did great after the second inning," said Kingsford manager Penny Dober. "The kids heard how good Escanaba was and were nervous coming over here. I guess we just had to get the jitters out of our system."
Molly Wahoviak, the first of three Kingsford pitchers, took the loss. She allowed seven runs on three hits, whiffed one and walked four.
Earlier, Gladstone unleashed a 16-hit attack as it needed just 61 minutes and four innings to eliminate Iron Mountain North 15-2.
Mykenzie Monkevich went 3-for-3 for Gladstone. Taylor Gauthier collected three hits and drove in three runs and Amber Lenards had two hits.
Gladstone scored three times in the first and erupted for nine runs in the second.
"Scoring the three runs in the first inning was a confidence boost for our girls," said Gladstone manager Duane Hardwick. "It always helps when you can put runs up right away. And anytime you can put up numbers like we did in the second, it can only help. We also want to give the Iron Mountain girls some credit. They have a young program up there, but they kept battling."
Gladstone's Jenna Steinhoff and Lenards combined for eigth strikeouts and gave up four hits.