Escanaba routs Munising, advances to district

Little League baseball

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Ben Johnson makes contact with a pitch Tuesday against Munising in a Little League Major (11-12) elimination game at Karl Dickson Field.

ESCANABA — The Escanaba Major Boys’ Little League All-Stars (age 11-12) weren’t given too many chances to put the ball in play Tuesday night.

Instead, they took advantage of 18 walks and strolled to a 22-4 baseball victory in four innings over Munising in an area tournament finale at Karl Dickson Field.

The victory enabled Esky to advance to the District 10 tournament Thursday at 7 p.m. against Norway, a 12-2 winner over Kingsford Tuesday.

Tyler Nelson gave Munising an early 1-0 lead on a passed ball.

Esky, taking advantage of four walks, a two-run double along the rightfield line by Mattie Kaven and a two-run single to center by John Weinert, grabbed a 5-1 lead in its half of the first.

“The ball was coming in slower than we’re used to,” said Esky manager Paul LaChance. “We told the guys to take pitches until they got a strike. It’s all about timing. When there’s a lot of walks, the defense tends to get back on its heels. Then when you get a hit, it tends to catch them off guard. The more strikes you throw, the better chance your defense has to make plays.”

In the second, Reagan Bowerman scored on a throwing error and Jack Dusseault crossed the plate on a passed ball to pull Munising within 5-3.

Munising was still within 6-3 in the bottom of the second when it turned a double play on a fly-out to center by Gavin Sommers, which also caught Ben Johnson off second base for the second out. After that, however, walks continued to mount for the Alger County team.

“That was a huge play,” said Munising manager Terry Kienitz. “It usually fires the kids up when they’re part of a play like that. We were up and down. The kids let a few plays get to them. They (Esky) went up looking for walks, which was part of their game. They made our pitchers work for their strikes and we had trouble finding the strike zone.”

Esky extended its lead to 11-3 on a three-run single to left by Cannon Arnt in the second, then added 11 runs on just four hits in the third. Trever Nolan, who pitched the first two frames, absorbed the loss.

The winners finished with seven hits, including a pair by Kaven.

Esky’s Bon LaChance, Bryson Lancour and Nolan Bink combined for a one-hitter and nine strikeouts. LaChance hit the first batter he faced and the trio allowed four walks.

Munising’s lone hit came on a leadoff line drive single to right in the fourth by Blake Walther, who also concluded the scoring on a fielder’s choice.

Esky committed two errors and Munising finished with three.