AKRON, Ohio - The Escanaba Junior (age 13-14) League girls have not lost thus far throughout the state tournament or the Central regional and they weren't about to drop their first game Monday.
Faced with a doubleheader against the state champions from Kentucky and Ohio, Escanaba triumphed over both to take a 3-0 record in pool play into the regional semi-final today.
"Everyone here is a state champion and we've had some good games," said Esky manager Jamie Segorski.
Marje Heller photo
Escanaba pitcher Callie Heller throws against London South, Ky. Monday morning at Akron, Ohio in the Junior League Central Regional Tournament. Heller pitched four shutout innings, striking out six and allowing two hits in Escanaba’s 11-0 victory.
Escanaba routed London-South, Ky. 11-0 in a five inning contest. Callie Heller was the wnning pitcher, going four shutout innings with six strikeouts and allowing two hits.
The true test of the day came against host Elyria, Ohio. Escanaba survived a 12-9 slugfest that initally looked like a rout.
The Esky All-Stars came out hot in the first inning as Heller led off with a triple and scored on a single from J.J. Laviolette. Escanaba poured it on and went up 7-0 before Elyria got its crack at it.
Elyria scored once in the bottom of the inning, but Escanaba racked up four more runs in the third inning to take an 11-1 lead.
However, Elyria, which had 15 hits in the game, was far from done. The Ohio state champions ripped four straight hits off of starting Esky pitcher Sam Connor to score three runs in the bottom of the third.
In the bottom of the fourth with Katie Ross on the mound for Escanaba, Carly Bachna of Elyria ripped a 3-run homer to left field to cut Esky's lead to 11-7.
With Escanba leading 12-8 in the bottom of the seventh, Bachna came back up to the plate and launched an RBI double to bring the score to 12-9.
That brought Sam Connor back to the mound. This time, she put the game away.
"That was a barnburner of a game," said Segorski. "We went at it and it was fun. We were up big and they just kept fighting back. The defense kept coming up big when they needed, we got fantastic performances by the entire team and we fought all the through. It was a lot of fun."
With the victory, Escanaba earned the No. 1 seed going into the semifinals.
They were set to play South Bend, Ind. today at noon.
The winner of the regional will advance to the Little League World Series in Kirkland, Wash. next weekend