Wild Boys Minor win for Escanaba
Gladstone falls in up-and-down Little League contest
ESCANABA — The Escanaba Minor Boys’ Little League All-Stars hung on for dear life in the end Friday night, outlasting Gladstone 10-6 in a wild pre-district baseball opener at Karl Dickson Field.
Esky secured the decision by taking advantage of two errors and scoring three times in the sixth and holding Gladstone scoreless in its half of the inning.
“The kids played with confidence,” said Esky head coach Nick Chernick. “We have a good group of 10-year-olds who’ve been here before. This is just a good group of kids. The kids didn’t get down and battled the whole way.”
Esky returns to Dickson Field today at noon to face Tri-County. Gladstone then meets Munising at 2.
Gladstone made it interesting in the fifth, scoring twice and climbing within 7-6 on Isaac Ketcham’s single to centerfield. Owen Gereau attempted to score on the play but was thrown out on Charley McInerney’s throw to catcher Cale Carter, who applied the at the plate.
“I didn’t really see what happened,” said Gladstone head coach Jesse Seger. “We teach the boys to slide correctly. We felt he slid under the tag, but the umpire saw it different.”
With Esky clinging to a 5-4 lead in its half of the fifth, Carter rapped a two-run single to left-center to make it 7-4.
“That was another testament to our kids not getting down on themselves,” said Chernick. “Getting a lead early is huge at this age.”
Esky opened the scoring with three runs in the first, taking advantage of two walks and Alex Stalboerger’s two-run single along the rightfield line.
McInerney’s triple to left put Esky up by four runs in the second and Lennox Peacock made it 5-0 with a double to left-center.
Gladstone’s bats came to life in the third, scoring its first run on Maddox Krueger’s double to right-center. Austin Pepin’s single to left made it 5-2 and Gavin Frossard’s ground out to second trimmed its deficit to 5-3.
Ketcham then scored on an error in the fourth to bring Gladstone within 5-4.
“We got our bats moving and stayed with them in the middle innings,” said Seger. “We had some momentum, but they scored in the sixth and we couldn’t catch up. It took a lot of energy for us to keep battling back.”
Esky finished with six hits, including a pair by Nolan Bink. Gladstone had seven. Pepin went 3-of-3, including a leadoff triple to center in the fifth.
“We have to credit the heart of Gladstone’s order,” said Chernick. “They have some good hitters.”
Peacock and Cannon Arnt shared Esky’s pitching duties. Peacock struck out seven, walked two and gave up three runs on four hits in the first three frames.
Arnt fanned six, walked three and allowed three runs on three hits in relief.
Cooper Sanville, the first of three Gladstone hurlers, absorbed the loss. He whiffed eight, walked three and surrendered six runs on four hits through four innings.
The teams combined for seven errors, including four by Gladstone.
In Friday’s nightcap, Bradly VanDamme allowed no hits, struck out six and walked just one through three innings in Tri-County’s 18-2 rout of Munising.
Blake Tanner launched a pair of three-run homers and Trent Rutter collected four hits. Tanner, VanDamme, Drew Begovac and Logan Frusti added three hits each in a game decided in four frames.