ESCANABA - The Escanaba Minor Boys' Little League All-Stars (age 9-10) failed to cash in on a promising start Monday night, dropping an 8-6 baseball decision to Munising in an area tournament finale.
The victory sends Munising to the District 10 tourney at Norway where it faces the host team Friday at 5 p.m. (CDT). Gladstone meets Iron Mountain North at 7 p.m. Friday.
Esky, taking advantage of three errors and a walk, scored five times in the first inning.
Munising responded with four runs in its half of the inning, scoring two each on passed balls and fielder's choices.
"We were ready to play," said Esky manager Darren Bray. "Normally when we start hot, we stay hot. But when they scored those four runs right away, the momentum shifted."
Munising's Anthony Matson tied the score at 5 on a passed ball in the third.
Esky, however, regained the lead in the fourth when Jaden Gravelle scored on a wild pitch.
Munising went ahead to stay in the fifth by taking advantage of a pair of walks, two wild pitches and an error.
"This was a great game by our kids," said Munising manager Branden Winsor. "We changed them to positions they never played before and it seemed to work for us tonight.
"The kids believe in themselves. Nobody on our team thought we weren't going to win."
Esky had runners on second and third with nobody out in the sixth, but was unable to capitalize.
Mitchell Coyne gained the win in relief of Josh Houtari-Wolfe. Coyne struck out four, walked two and gave up a hit in the final two innings. Wolfe fanned four, walked two and allowed six runs on five hits through four.
"When they brought in their new pitcher, we went out 1-2-3 and that killed any momentum we had (in the fifth)," said Bray. "Then, we went 1-2-3 after getting the first two guys on base in the sixth. The kids played hard. We had the opportunity, but couldn't get the key hit."
Matson went 3-for-3 and Skyler Anderson had two hits for Munising. Gravelle had a pair for Esky, which was outhit 8-6.
Kolby Stenfors absorbed the loss in relief of Ayden Hanson. Stenfors whiffed two, walked two and surrendered three runs on three hits in the last 1 2/3 frames. Hanson fanned six, walked two and gave up five runs on five hits through 3 1/3.