Eskymos suffer two late defeats

Prep baseball

KINGSFORD — Escanaba came as close to sweeping a doubleheader as a team could get, yet lost both games to Kingsford on Tuesday.

Escanaba held a 1-0 lead going into the final inning of the second game before Kingsford’s Guy Barrows ended the game with a three-run walkoff homer for a 3-1 win.

The Flivvers’ win comes on the heels of a doubleheader split against Marquette on Monday. Momentum is building in Kingsford’s clubhouse.

“Exciting, just fantastic. Pitching held up. Error-free baseball. That’s the team we are,” Kingsford assistant coach Mark Allen said. “And it took a few games to get to that point but I think we’re hitting our stride at the right time.”

In the first game, the Eskymos rallied from a 6-4 deficit to tie the game before the Flivvers won on a walkoff bases-loaded walk.

Eskymos coach Kirk Schwalbach spelled out the team’s troubles of late — no offensive support for steady pitching and defense.

“We need to work on our hitting,” Schwalbach said. “We have so many kids that don’t have confidence in the batter’s box — stepping in and thinking negative thoughts.”

The Flivvers almost crumbled in the first game, losing a 6-2 lead in the top of the sixth. The Eskymos scored a run in the fifth and nine batters stepped up to bat in the sixth. Escanaba had runners on first and second when an RBI single by Johnny Schlenvogt kicked off the last-chance rally to leave runners on first and second. A balk afforded both runners a base, then a walk loaded the bases. A hit by pitch brought in a run and a bases-loaded walk tied the game.

The Flivvers put runners on base with a walk and a double. Escanaba intentionally walked Marcus Maraccini to set up a force at home. Schhwalbach directed the infield on the grass and brought the outfielders in. But a walk brought home the winning run.

The second game was the heartbreaker, Schwalbach said.

Schlenvogt pitched a complete game in the second game, throwing 90 pitches –55 for strikes. He surrendered three runs on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

“First game I don’t feel so bad about, we didn’t deserve to win that one. I felt bad for Jonny, he pitched great the second game,” Schwalbach said. “I thought he got squeezed on a couple curveballs that we thought were strikes and then the kid hit the bomb. He deserved better but it comes down to us scoring one run. You’re not going to win many games scoring one run. I’m just frustrated with our hitting. The kids are too.”

Andrew Ferree and Maraccini pitched for Kingsford. They threw a combined 84 pitches to 23 batters. They walked four, struck out six and gave up one run on three hits.

Austin VanPembrook hit a one-out single and advanced to second on a single by Luke Terrian. Murvich reached base on a fielder’s choice as the Eskymos forced Terrian out at second.

Then Guy Barrows happened.

Barrows, who will play baseball at Division III Northland College, sat on an 0-1 curve and crushed it to centerfield.

Escanaba hosts Rudyard Friday.