Esky tops Grandville in opener

Todd Milkiewicz

ST. CLAIR — Escanaba and Grandville played a dandy opener Friday in the Little League Major Girls State Tournament at Legacy Fields in St. Clair.

Escanaba scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning and pulled out a thrilling 9-6 victory in pool play.

“Grandville was an awesome team,” Esky head coach Todd Milkiewicz said. “It was a fight from beginning to end. It was a back and forth team and neither team would back down.”

Grandville, which has seven returning players, is the defending state and regional champion. The Grand Rapids-area squad also eliminated Escanaba in last year’s tournament.

Anna Boutilier’s RBI single scored Abby Hill with the game-winning run in the seventh inning and Aubrey Stropich added a two-run double as Esky pulled out the victory.

Esky will face White Lake today at 9:30 a.m. and Jackson County Sunday at 2 p.m. to finish pool play.

Mckayla Mott earned the victory, scattering six hits, striking out 12 and walking three.

“She was solid,” Milkiewicz said about Mott, who also tied the game at 6-6 with an RBI double in the sixth inning.

Stropich led the Esky offense with 4-for-4 performance, while Isabelle Braun added three hits.

Esky also benefited from a strong start from a three-run surge in the top of the first inning. Grandville put together a three-run fifth inning to take a 6-5 lead.

Milkiewicz said his team should have plenty of confidence after winning its opener.

“Everybody expected Grandville to win,” he said.