Sweet softball sweep

Eskymos edge rival Gladstone

GLADSTONE — Both teams couldn’t get much going early in both games as the Escanaba softball team swept Gladstone in a doubleheader Tuesday.

Both sides struggled on offense before Escanaba pulled away towards the end of both games winning 4-3, 6-2.

“Those are the kind of games you want to play,” said Esky coach Jamie Segorski. “Those are the type of games that get us ready for the tournament run. Did I think we could have hit better? Sure I do. Am I happy we came away with two wins? Absolutely.”

Gladstone coach John Nevala was proud of the way his team held its own against a good Esky team.

“It was an excellent effort out of our girls,” said Nevala. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way they played. You got one of the top teams in Division 2 and we stuck with them most of the way.”

The Eskymos got on the board right away in the first inning when Katie Ross hit a sacrifice grounder that scored Emily Bruntjens.

Nobody scored again until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Braves tied the game 1-1 when Sydney Herioux scored on a passed ball.

Esky answered in the top of the fifth with three runs, including a two-run homer from Lexi Chaillier to put the Eskymos up 4-1.

The Braves got two of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run home run by Kaitlyn Hardwick but fell short of a comeback.

“They didn’t give up until the last out,” said Nevala. “Even though we lost it was an excellent effort out of them.”

Gabi Salo got the win for the Eskymos as she gave up three hits in seven innings while striking out 11 and walking two.

Jenna Steinhoff pitched all seven innings for the Braves giving up four hits and striking out two with no walks.

The second game started off slow as both pitchers were on their game.

Ross pitched all seven innings for the Eskymos giving up five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

Steinhoff also pitched the second game for Gladstone allowing eight hits in seven innings while striking out three with no walks.

The game remained scoreless until Esky drove in three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to take a 6-0 lead heading into the final half inning.

“Later in the games when push comes to shove I think it’s just mental toughness,” said Segorski. “It’s about having enough inside you to get it done when you need it the most.

“We got some players who play better when the lights are brightest. It’s fun to watch. When the lights are bright on Katie Ross she plays well and she proved that today.”

The Braves didn’t go down without a fight as they managed to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh but came up short.

Ross had two hits for the Eskymos that included a home run while Jerikka McAlpine also had two hits.

Steinhoff had two hits for the Braves and drove in both of Gladstone’s runs in the seventh inning with a double.

Gladstone hosts Menominee Thursday while Esky travels to Ann Arbor for a tournament Friday and Saturday.