KIRKLAND, Wash. - It took four games, but the Escanaba Junior (age 13-14) girls found success Friday at the Junior League Softball World Series.
A hot start aided the Escanaba All-Stars and they cruised from there to a 9-2 victory over West Haven, Conn.
"We got to them real quick," said Escanaba manager Jamie Segorski. "We scored four runs in the first inning and played very well. We finally came out and played fast and put a lot of pressure on their defense."
West Haven was 3-1 in pool play but found themselves in the consolation bracket due to tiebreaking rules.
"When we got here, we thought our pool was a desirable one to be in. We found out we would have been better off in the other pool," said Segorski. "I still think we're one of the better teams here but our pool is tough. We played two teams that have been here before with the same team.
"Kirkland (the host team) had almost every girl back from 2011 and the Canadian team only lost one girl from last year. Both were real solid teams."
Callie Heller, who was 3-3 at the plate, led off the game with what Segorski described as a "beautiful single up the middle," and the Esky All-Stars, poured it on from there.
"Callie is our leadoff hitter and our catalyst," said Segorski. "When she gets on base at the start, it gives the team confidence."
Heller was also the winning pitcher, going four shutout innings with no hits allowed. Sam Connor relieved her and allowed one run on two hits over two innings. Katie Ross wrapped up the game, also giving up one run on two hits.
"We were on top of our game today. It was a 180 from the previous three games. We went out very confident, we had great defense and we let it go from there," said Segorski.
Taylor Segorski and J.J. Laviolette were each 2-3 at the plate and Ross ripped a two RBI triple in the sixth inning.
Escanaba will play in the fifth place game today at 11 a.m EDT in a rematch against Honaker, Va. The regional champions from Virginia defeated Eagle Pass, Texas earlier today. The game will be Escanaba's last before heading home.
"We're happy to be in the game. It puts us in the top six which is a great accomplishment," said Segorski. "Certainly we want to exact a little revenge (against Honaker) and come out and win that game.
"I don't think we played our best against them in the opening game. We were a little tight and kicked the ball around a bit. Hopefully we can win (today) and come out of this in fifth place."