KIRKLAND, Wash. - One would figure that every tournament team in the Junior (age 13-14) League Softball World Series had at least one or two rough games on the way there.
Escanaba unfortunately had them back-to-back on the biggest stage. Wednesday evening, the Esky All-Stars took their second loss in pool play and of their entire tournament run, falling to Victoria, B.C. 6-0.
With the loss, Escanaba was eliminated from title contention, but still has three games left to play.
Photo courtesy of Julie VanPortfliet
The Central regional champion Escanaba Junior (age 13-14) League softball team is at the World Series in Kirkland, Wash. this week.
The team includes, back row, from left: coach Andy Fields, Kayla VanPortfliet, Samantha Connor, manager Jamie Segorski, Michelle Lafave, Katie Ross, coach Randy VanPortlfiet. Front row: Rebecca Piron, Emily Lafave, Jennifer Laviolette, Mackenzie Leisner, Callie Heller, Anna Burch, Taylor Segorski.
"Our goal now is to get the girls up and come back and place as high as we can," said manager Jamie Segorski. "We still have an opportunity to place in the top five in the tournament and no one in our district has ever placed that high. We just have to re-evaluate, re-adjust, place in the top five and come out of this with a 3-2 record."
The regional champions from Canada carried a 1-0 lead going into the fourth inning after belting a solo home run in the second inning. Then Victoria opened the floodgates, tagging Escanaba for four runs in the fourth and one in the fifth inning.
"It was ugly," said Segorski. "And it wasn't so much we didn't play well, but Canada just hit the ball and had some nice contacts. They made the plays in the field and we just kept hitting the ball right at them.
"We had a couple mental breakdowns here and there. It was one of thsoe games you never want to have at the World Series. We've had two bad games this whole tourney and we had them back-to-back."
Escanaba received two hits from Michelle LaFave and hits from Sam Connor, Emily LaFave and Mackenzie Leisner.
"Sam Connor blistered the ball every time she touched it" said Segorski. "We had hits but they were scattered through the game. We never had an inning. We couldn't get the leadoff batter on, the whole game and when you're down six runs, that's a problem."
Sam Connor started the game on the mound for Escanaba, going three innings and giving up one run, but taking the loss.
Katie Ross pitched three innings and allowed five runs and Callie Heller closed the game out, pitching the seventh and not allowing a run.
Segorski took the loss mostly in stride, pointing to the big picture.
"What we have to remember," he said, "Is that we aren't aiming to place in the top five in the state or the region, but top five in the world. It would be a great accomplishment."
Escanaba plays Kirkland, Wash. (2-0) tonight at 5 p.m. EDT before entering the consolation bracket Friday.