ESCANABA - Maybe the Escanaba 9-10-year old girls are still too young to know what pressure is to let it get to them.
Regardless, they displayed the poise of an older team, on Tuesday, as the Esky All-Stars bounced back from an early deficit to come from behind and defeat Gladstone 5-3 to capture the District 10 title, at Lemerand Field.
With the victory, Escanaba will advance to host a sectional next week.
Bryce Derouin | Daily Press
The Escanaba 9-10 girls pose with the District 10 championship banner.
Bryce Derouin | Daily Press
Escanaba’s Carsyn Segorski steals second base, while Gladstone shortstop Madison Monkevich looks the ball into her glove during the first inning.
Bryce Derouin | Daily Press
Escanaba’s Abby Hill makes it to first safely, as Gladstone first baseman Lauren Bell reaches low to make the catch, while pitcher Cecilia Pilon watches on, during the second inning of the District 10 title game. Hill laid down a bunt to reach base and Macy Lancour would eventually go on to score during the play.
With abnormally cold temperatures for a July afternoon, it took the Escanaba defense a little while to warm up. Gladstone scored two runs in the top of the first inning, taking advantage of three errors made by Escanaba in the inning.
"We started off a little rocky," Escanaba head coach Jamie Segorski said. "It's windy, it's cold; I think I probably over practiced them this week. We went about three and a half hours a night and so we looked a little bit sluggish in the beginning, but as soon as they got into it, they played well."
With Cecilia Pilon on third, Madison Monkevich grounded out, allowing Pilon to score from third for the games' first run. Gladstone would get its second run of the inning after Jada LaFave scored from third to make it 2-0, after Lauren Bell put the ball in play and reached on another Escanaba error.
"It's tough. It's a 9-10-year old game," Segorski said. "It's hard when the pressure's on them; it's really difficult. They put a lot of pressure on our defense in the first couple innings and we made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on it."
However, Escanaba would get a run back in its first at-bats of the game. Carsyn Segorski reached on a single, and with aggressive base running, managed to reach third, before scoring on a passed ball to give Escanaba its first run and cut the deficit to 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, Escanaba drew even, taking advantage of Gladstone miscues this time.
Macy Lancour scored as Abby Hill laid down a bunt and Gladstone mishandled the ball, allowing Lancour to make it all the way to home from first base.
In the third, Gladstone went ahead for the final time, but they wouldn't need any help from Escanaba, as Lauren Bell hit an RBI single up the middle of the Escanaba defense that allowed LaFave to score again, and make it 3-2.
Esky scored the eventual game winners in the fourth inning when Lancour started the Escanaba rally with a double. Lancour eventually scored from third scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3. With Paxton Bullen on third, Chloe Allen laid down a nicely placed bunt, allowing Bullen to score from third, giving Escanaba a 4-3 advantage.
"In the middle of the game we were able to put some pressure on their defense and score some runs," Segorski said.
In the top of the fifth, the Escanaba defense made the plays it had to. Gladstone's Bell and Carney Salo hit two threatening fly balls to the outfield, but the Esky fielders made the plays to record the outs, despite the swirling winds.
"The two fly balls caught-one by Lizzie Sliva was a great catch-and then the catch by Paxton Bullen on the line, was just a fantastic catch. She ran a long way to get there and glove the ball."
Emily Moore scored in the bottom of the fifth to give Escanaba an insurance run, to make it 5-3. Gladstone would manage to manufacture one more offensive threat, putting runners on first and second in its last at-bats during the top of the sixth. However, they could not bring anyone home.
"Escanaba's a tough team," Gladstone manager Nick Monkevich said. "We played a good game against them. They just hit the ball a little better than we did and that's what it boiled down to, in my opinion.
"They got some runners on and they were able to get some runs here and there and we did the same thing, but they were just able to hit the ball a little bit better and were able to capitalize on their batting."
Emily Moore earned the victory on the mound for Escanaba. She pitched all six innings and allowed three runs-two earned-on three hits and five walks. She struck out six batters.
Pilon pitched all five innings for Gladstone and struck out seven. She gave up five runs-three earned-on five hits and seven walks.
"It was a good game," Segorski said. "Give credit to Gladstone. Cecilia pitched a really nice game for them. Coach Monkevich and his staff did a fantastic job of getting the kids ready. I think they really came a long way this year and it was a really nice two games that they played against us. We really had to play tough to come out with a couple of wins."
Escanaba will now go on to host a sectional series on Tuesday.
The victory marks Segorski's second district title this Little League season. He coached the Senior Girls to a district title, last week.
"It's fun to coach the kids," Segorski said. "I coach a lot of different age groups, anywhere from 10's to high school. Playing with the little kids is a fun time. Their sense of humor is fantastic. They hustle all over the place and they really make it a lot of fun for me."