TAYLOR - The Escanaba senior girls got off to a strong start in pool play, earning two victories, on Friday.
First, Escanaba defeated Lac Saint Clair 14-1 in five innings, and then topped Clinton 11-7.
"Traditonally, they're not a strong program," Escanaba head coach Jamie Segorski said of Lac Saint Clair. "We played well. We pretty much controlled the whole game. We bunted a lot and played a lot of small ball and that carried us through the game."
Sam Connor earned the win on the mound, and struck out 11 batters over five innings. Jerrika McAlpine went 4-for-4 to lead the Escanaba offense. Emma LaFave also had a strong game at the plate, going 3-for-4.
In the second game, Escanaba prepared to face an established softball program, in Clinton.
"When they were 12-year olds, four years ago, they were the Michigan state champions in the majors," Segorski said of Clinton. "We were excited to play them. We knew they were a tough team, comng in."
Taylor Segorski went 2-for-4 from the plate and J.J. Laviolette also added a single and double, for an Escanaba offense that relied heavily on the basepaths to generate offense.
In the third inning, the game was 0-0, until Escanaba broke through.
"We got the lead-off on, and then stole a couple bases," Segorski said. "We been using Jerrika McAlpine and Emily Burntjens to steal bases. The'yre so fast. They run the bases so well. They've just been performing unbelivably on the basepaths for us."
In the sixth inning, Clinton scored five runs, but it was not enough to make a comeback. Sam Connor closed the game out in the seventh, and Katie Ross was the winning pitcher for Escanaba.
Escanaba will face Taylor, at 9 a.m., with a chance to win and move out of their pool, into the bracket. If they lose to Taylor, there will be a three-way tie between Escanaba, Taylor, and Clinton.
"We're on a real tough side of the bracket," Jamie Segorski said. "Taylor has a good team. Clinton has a good team. We need to win the next game to move on."