MARINETTE, Wis. - The shorthanded Escanaba Cubs earned a split over four games at the Marinette Firecracker American Legion baseball Tournament this weekend.
After falling to the host team Friday night, Escanaba split on Saturday, falling to Green Bay 5-3 and beating Watertown 12-10. Finally, on Sunday, the Cubs wrapped up the tournament with a 5-3 victory over Manitowoc.
Brandon Punzel and Nick Vandermissen were Esky's leaders over the weekend at the plate, and the Cubs also got a boost from Junior Cubs callup Justin Popelka. Punzel and Popelka each had two hits against Green Bay.
"Justin Popelka had a great weekend. He was definitely a key ingredient," said Cubs manager Tom Ohman. "We were missing four guys for various reasons and commitments, and Justin pitched three innings on Sunday, only giving up one unearned run."
The Cubs used four additional pitchers over the weekend in Andrew Sedlar, Devin Olson, Lewis Ostrander and Tyler Skufca.
"The pitching got a little dicey in the game against Watertown," said Ohman. "It was back and forth, up and down."
Escanaba led jumped out to a 6-1 lead against Watertown but the Cubs found themselves trailing 7-6 after two innings. Escanaba came back in the fifth on a bases-clearing double from Punzel. That scored three runs and gave the Cubs a 10-7 lead. Escanaba tacked on two more runs on an RBI single from Tyler Skufca that scored Punzel. Punzel over-reached past first and got caught in a pickel that lasted long enough for Vandermissen to score. Esky led 12-7 after five innings, but still had to hold on.
Watertown tacked one run on in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth to draw within 12-9. In the bottom of the seventh, on their last strike, Watertown drew within one on an RBI single to make it 12-10. However, Skufca struck out the last batter to end the game.
Details against Manitowoc were not available, but Ohman said he was proud of the way his team fought.
"I do feel that if we had those four guys in the linsup, we would have had the opportunity to turn the table," he said. "On the other hand, it is a summer sport and kids have things to do. It requires us to be imaginative at times, putting lineups together.
"The kids were bulldogs though. We scratched and fought and did everything we could to get runs."
Escanaba (4-5) resumes Wednesday at Gladstone for an 8 p.m. game at Don Olsen Field. A scheduled game Tuesday against Menominee has been cancelled.
Kewaunee 6, Gladstone 2
Kewaunee 2, Gladstone 1
KINGSFORD - Gladstone dropped two games to Kewaunee County (Luxemberg) Sunday evening at KIngsford as the Indians' bats fell silent.
Logan Brusky threw a four-hitter in the opener and Kewaunee capitalized on five Gladstone errors. Sam Pouliot took the loss despite only giving up five hits
Kewaunee put up four runs in the fifth to erase a 2-1 Gladstone lead. Caleb Williams ripped a 2-run double, and two other runs were scored on back-to-back hit batters with the bases loaded.
In the nightcap, the Lakers scored twice in the first inning on an RBI single from Tyler Cody and an error. Gladstone got on the board in the fifth on an RBI triple from Chrisitan Tackman, scoring Elliot Danhoff to cut the deficit to 2-1. However, Gladstone would not threaten again, only mustering four hits.
Christian Groleau took the complete game loss, allowing just one earned run on five hits. Tackman had two hits for the Indians.